Warwickshire Rural Hub
Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme is launched
The Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG) is a £50 million scheme that aims to help accelerate woodland planting rates and develop the domestic market for woodland carbon for the permanent removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Unlike most existing woodland creation support mechanisms the WCaG is not a grant or a fund and it does not contribute towards the cost of planning, establishment or early maintenance.
Woodland creation projects accepted into the Woodland Carbon Guarantee have the option to sell WCUs to the government every 5 or 10 years up to 2055/56. The government will buy the WCUs for an agreed guaranteed price that is index-linked for the life of the contract. You can still choose to sell the carbon credits on the open market at any time. For further information please visit this page.
RPA confirms BPS 2019 entitlement values and greening rates
The Rural Payments Agency has published the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlement values and greening rates. This follows the confirmation of the BPS exchange rate for this year’s payments, which will start landing in bank accounts in December. Under BPS, farmers need to hold an entitlement for every hectare of eligible land they are claiming on. The size of farmers’ payments will depend on how many entitlements they use, supported by eligible land and the value of those entitlements. The greening part of payments has been calculated by taking the number of entitlements farmers have used with eligible land to claim payment, and multiplying it by the greening value.
For further information please visit this page.
RDPE Growth Programme opens for expressions of interest
The Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure grants are now open to new applications. You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form before midnight on 16 February 2020.
You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.
There are 3 types of grant:
- Business development
- Food processing
- Rural tourism infrastructure
For further information on how to apply for a grant please visit this page.
STEPS Scheme re-opens on 1 Nov for Bourne and Blythe catchments
After our record number of applications last year, the STEPS grant scheme re-opens for applications from 1st November 2019 to 31st January 2020. Up to £5000/ farm is available to farmers in our priority catchment areas to improve water quality and biodiversity. Applicants must take part in the Farm to Tap scheme (if applicable) to be eligible for STEPS grant funding.
For more information contact Una McBride: 078 11847161 or Marion Perrett-Pearson: 079 70944834 or visit this page.
Express interest in a deer management grant
The key purpose of this grant is to improve the condition of woodlands through reducing the negative impacts of deer. The services to be provided by recipients of the grant are yet to be fully defined, but will be before any further documentation for applying for this grant is published (this is expected to be before 31 October 2019). It is anticipated that they will include advice on deer management, developing and exchanging best practice, collection of evidence and contributing to expert advice. Full information is here.
Remember to prioritise your Countryside Stewardship grant application
If you’re submitting an RLE1 form in order to apply for either of the Countryside Stewardship funded grants, please place a cross in the box titled “If you are claiming (or intend to claim) under a Rural Development Programme scheme put an ‘X’ in this box”. In the blank space under this box, write “RLE1 required to support Countryside Stewardship application”. This should then flag up an urgent processing of your mapping request.
New Countryside Stewardship Woodland manuals available
New manuals have been published on GOV.UK in the Woodland Support section of the Countryside Stewardship page.
As these pages meet the new accessibility guidelines they will not be provided in PDF format. However if you wish to print some of the manual it is possible to print whole topics.
New Woodland Grants and Incentives table
Are you considering applying for a woodland grant? Or looking for more information about which incentive scheme best suits your situation?
If so, the new Forestry Commission woodland grants and incentives overview table may be the perfect starting point for you to learn more about what’s on offer. The table displays all of the Forestry Commission and RDPE grant and incentive schemes in one place (Countryside Stewardship on one side, non-RDPE grants and incentives on the other). The table includes the full range of grant and incentive schemes available for woodland creation, maintenance, management and tree health, so it’s a great way of seeing at a glance which scheme best suits your woodland needs and objectives, and which you would like to explore in more detail.
Support for farmers to tackle air pollution
Did you know that free expert support and confidential advice is available now from local air quality specialists, enabling farmers to choose the best way forward for their farm?
In September 2018, the government launched a new £3 million air quality project to support farmers through the Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership. Since then, specialists have been working with farmers across the country to reduce ammonia emissions to improve their farm business and the environment.
Visit this link to check if your land is in a high priority and to read more about the partnership.
Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme is launched
A £1.34 million programme offering community food and farming businesses a mix of affordable loans and grants to help businesses get investment ready has been launched. The Real Farming Trust has established Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme (LEAP) with Power to Change, an independent trust that supports community businesses in England. Interested communities can apply for 5-year unsecured loans between £25,000 and £100,000, and a grant worth 18% of the loan amount. Mentoring support will also be provided to help successful groups develop their business plans. Further information is available here.
Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme
Do you want to save money on your energy bills and the make the most of low carbon opportunities? The Green Business programme can help you identify energy savings and support the development of new low carbon products and technologies. For further information visit this page.
Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme
Supporting the development of new innovative products and technologies for SMEs, the programme provides a range of assistance including one-to-one support, networking and access to grants of up to £100,000. Visit this page for further information.
Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme
A free service comprising one-to-one or group support targeted at new businesses, or established businesses with under 250 employees who want to grow. Visit this page for further information.
Gigabit Voucher Scheme for small and medium sized businesses
If you are a small or medium-sized business, you may be able to get a grant of up to £3,000 to upgrade your business broadband to a Gigabit capable connection. Details of approved suppliers can be found at the link below.
HS2 Woodland Fund
The HS2 Woodland Fund provides grant payments for restoring plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) and/or creating new native woodland. Funding is available for a range of capital items, paying 100% of the associated standard cost, with a maintenance payment also available for woodland creation. £1 million of funding is due to open for applications in January 2018 and will close in April 2020, subject to remaining budget availability. There are no application windows.
Further information is available on the website below.
Change to Woodland Creation threshold
The threshold for applications to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant has been lowered to 10 hectares. At least one woodland block within an application must be of 10 ha or more in size, with additional blocks being at least 5 ha in size. This means that if your application is less than 15 ha in total, it must be formed of a single woodland block. Visit the website below for more information.
Updates to digital maps
The RPA is currently updating digital maps and will use this latest mapping data when calculating BPS 2017 payments. Claimants of Environmental / Countryside Stewardship and Forestry Legacy Schemes may need to review the changes to make sure their applications and/ or agreements are correct.
Natural England refreshes its livestock recording templates
Natural England has updated the templates for recording livestock to make them more user friendly. Therefore the webpage has been refreshed. Specific livestock record keeping applies to CS and ELS/HLS agreements that started on or after 1 January 2013.
CFE advises voluntary maintenance of expiring environmental schemes
The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is encouraging farmers who are in Environmental Stewardship schemes to voluntarily maintain conservation work when the scheme has expired. Voluntary management may assist such farmers to benefit from any future schemes, post Brexit, and returning such land to production will undo the investment of time and money already made, says CFE.
Fully funded training to invest in your workforce
Would you like the opportunity improve your staff productivity, increase staff morale and receive support from professionals who will help you grow your business?
Inspire 2 Independence is working in partnership with Serco on the delivery of Skills Support for the Workforce across Coventry & Warwickshire. The funding is available to local businesses within Coventry & Warwickshire with 100% funding of a range of units and qualifications aimed at up-skilling your workforce. No financial contribution is required from your business to access this training opportunity, all that is required is a commitment to the development of your staff.
For further information please contact your i2i representative today.
New form to raise BPS issues
The RPA has developed a new way to deal with cases of unreported BPS 2015 / 2016 payment issues, which includes an enquiry form for farmers to complete and send to the RPA.
For further information and to download a copy of the form please use the link below.
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Tel: 07780 159291
Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors
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Graham Collier (Hub Deputy Chairman)
Hub Steering Group Members
Luke Ryder, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Jef Tuyn, Agricultural Consultant
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm
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