37 new farming groups sign up to deliver nature conservation.
Competition was fierce but there was no denying it, two of the 37 nationally funded schemes have been awarded to the protected landscape and habitats within the Lincolnshire Wolds!
The Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project has been awarded over £43,500 to run a Facilitation Fund group with farmers and landowners along the Great Eau catchment over the next three years. We will be working together to build on and share knowledge as to how best to deliver environmental improvements in the catchment for the benefit of this rare and unique chalk stream habitat in Lincolnshire.
The Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service will be working with local consultants to deliver a Facilitation Fund with farmers and landowners along the Bluestone Heath Corridor, to secure and reinforce environmental improvements, sharing best practice and deliver training on priorities across farm holdings through to the wider positive improvements to the landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB.
The fourth round of the popular Facilitation Fund has been one of the most successful yet, with 37 new groups of farmers from Cornwall to Northumberland signed up to agreements after a competitive application round, which closed in November 2017.
The Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund rewards groups of farmers for coming together to work out the best ways to improve the natural environment across their land, providing habitats for wildlife on a landscape scale to better aid conservation of important species.
There are now 98 groups working across England with the common goal of better delivering environmental improvements on their land, and the land of their neighbours.
A number of high quality applications were received in this latest funding round, which meant the funding pot was increased by £600,000 to ensure that groups with important work to deliver could access the funding to do so.
All 37 groups have now received their agreements and will be able to receive funding for working together and sharing knowledge to improve the landscape. The addition of these groups to the scheme means that now over 450,000 hectares of holdings in England are delivering landscape-scale measures for wildlife, water management and the historic environment.
Farming Minister George Eustice said:
"We are delighted to welcome 37 new groups, with over 700 members, to the highly successful Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund scheme.
This fund is contributing to an important step change in nature conservation by encouraging and supporting people who bring farmers, foresters and other land managers together to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale.
It is particularly encouraging to see how many high quality applications we received, which we hope to replicate across the Countryside Stewardship scheme due to simpler wildlife offers being introduced this year."