The Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant Scheme offers farmers up to £5,000 (minimum of £1,000) to improve environmental and landscape benefits on their land. The scheme opened on 1 February for applications and closes on 28 April 2017, following which each application will be scored against each other, with successful grant offers being made from July 2017.
Farmers successfully receiving a grant must then have all work completed and paid for and an eligible claim submitted by 31 December 2018, meaning there are only one and a half growing seasons to do the work.
The capital items included in the grant are:
- hedgerow laying, coppicing and gapping-up
- planting standard hedgerow tree
- earth bank restoration
- stone-faced bank repair and restoration
- stone wall restoration
Hedge planting is not available in the Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant Scheme.
Eligibility for the grant is much broader than it was in 2016, as it is judged at field level and attached to the field parcel rather than the holding as a whole, which should allow more farmers to apply.
If the field parcel is under Countryside Stewardship Mid or Higher Tier agreement, Higher Level Scheme (HLS) or Upland Entry Level Scheme (UELS) it is not eligible. If the field is under Entry Level Scheme (ELS) or English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) then, provided the remaining criteria are met, the field could be eligible.
Application forms can be submitted by post now or online from early March, with all supporting evidence needing to be sent by post or email. Supporting evidence could include a map for the location of the work, a photo of the location and any necessary permissions. If your application is successful then you will be required to provide other record keeping requirements during and after the works to evidence these as ongoing or completed.
The scheme is competitive and it is envisaged that application numbers will be high. You can improve your chances of your application by showing:
- you have lots of work to do, as applications for more than £1,000 show lots of boundaries that can benefit;
- you are a smaller holding using the maximum money, rewarding the extreme work often required for smaller farms;
- you have previously been a part of a multi-annual Rural Development scheme before, such as the ELS or the EWGS;
- hedge-laying and stone wall restoration work in your plans as these specific works receive bonus scores;
- you are a member of a Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Funded group.
At David Allen we recognise that successful grant applications can help you add to your bottom line. We are able to cut through the red tape and offer advice at every stage of the application process to give you the best chance of success. For more information call Tom on 01228 711888 or email tom.benson@Agribusiness-da.co.uk