Farmers in the Midlands have until 18 April to apply for funding to improve biodiversity on-farm under Spring STEPS (Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme).
The funding is exclusively for farmers in priority catchments who have plans to apply for, or have previously received funding from, Severn Trent’s main STEPS scheme, which aids on-farm improvements that protect and enhance water quality and natural habitats.
Dr Adam Freer, senior catchment scientist at Severn Trent, urges farmers to sign up.
“Spring STEPS provides funding for a range of biodiversity improvement options and I would encourage farmers to look into what’s available by going online, or contacting their local Severn Trent agricultural adviser,” he says. “There are options to suit all farm types and systems, from enhancing biodiversity in existing grassland, planting diverse herbal leys, or developing wildflower margins.
“Farmers can even put forward their own creative ideas for improving wildlife habitats through an ‘innovation’ option. Once the application is accepted, projects must be completed by 1st March 2022.”
Dr Freer explains that Spring STEPS is part of Severn Trent’s Farming for Water initiative – a collaborative catchment management programme which protects and enhances water quality and biodiversity, while also supporting productive and sustainable farm operations. In 2020, a total of 1,700ha of new wildlife habitats were created by Farming for Water farmers.
“Biodiversity is a growing area of importance for UK farmers, particularly considering the Government’s impending Environmental Land Management scheme, and so we want to continue to support them on their journey to farming in a more environmentally sustainable way.”
How to apply:
- Check you’re in a priority catchment here: stwater.co.uk/steps
- To increase your chances of a successful application, seek advice from your local Severn Trent agricultural adviser on what options would best suit your farm and make the greatest positive impact on the environment
- Fill out your application online: stwater.co.uk/steps
- Make sure your application is in by 18 April, bearing in mind that you will have until 1stMarch 2022 to complete the work after you have been accepted