2,300 farm projects supported through STEPS

LinkedIn +

Severn Trent is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its popular STEPS (Severn Trent’s Environmental Protection Scheme).scheme, which has awarded more than 2,300 grants to farmers and landowners to help improve water quality and biodiversity.

During this time, the water company has worked with more than 5,000 farmers across its priority catchments through its Farming for Water catchment management programme.

Funding is now available for the 2024 STEPS scheme with up to £30,000 match funding on offer, the most popular STEPS options include pesticide washdown areas, precision equipment, and livestock fencing as well as establishing cover crops.

All these initiatives help reduce the amount of pesticide and nitrate entering raw watercourses, explains Dr Adam Freer, senior catchment management scientist at Severn Trent.

He says: “The continued success of STEPS over the decade highlights farmers’ commitment to sustainable farming and environmental protection.

“When STEPS began, we identified 21 catchment areas to work with, but as the scheme has evolved, we’ve been able to double this and we’re now working with 55 catchments across the Midlands.

“In 2023 alone, STEPS supported over 120 on-farm environmental projects, including more than 2,000 ha of cover crops, and we welcome more farmers to work with us this year.”

Dr Freer believes STEPS remains popular due to its ability to adapt and evolve, allowing a greater variety of options for on-farm improvements – expanding to more than 40 today.

He adds: “Not only have these STEPS-funded projects helped reduce water pollution risk and protect the environment, but they’ve also supported greater farm productivity by improving spray efficiency and soil health.

“All match funding options come with advice and support from our 20-strong team of local agricultural advisers too.”

Dr Freer encourages farmers and landowners to visit the Severn Trent website at Stwater.co.uk/STEPS or contact their local agricultural adviser to investigate their options and eligibility for 2024 funding.

Share this story:

About Author