Rural Grants on offer: NOVEMBER 2021

Nearly one year on from the launch of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan we have developed a list of available grants for farming (and rural) businesses. As grant development is a continual process we will amend and update the list in line with the changing offers.

If you are interested in applying for any of the grants below, please do get in touch with an ARC team member.

This list is not exhaustive and does not include Covid-19 support schemes nor individual schemes from Local Authorities or Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The Farming Investment Fund

Defra launched the Farming Investment Fund on 16th November to provide grants to farmers, growers, and foresters (including related contractors) so that they can invest in the things they need to improve productivity and enhance the natural environment. This includes new equipment, technology, and infrastructure.

The Farming Investment Fund is made up of 2 parts:

  • The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (Approx. £17million available).
  • The Farming Transformation Fund (Approx. £10 million available).

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is the new way for us to provide small productivity grants to farmers. It has been based on the old small productivity grants scheme, with some changes:

  • Reducing the minimum to £2,000
  • Increasing the maximum grant to £25,000
  • Adding contractors

The timeline in this first round is for applications to be made by 7th January 2022. The application process is an online application and should take no more than 20 minutes. It is competitive and not on a first come served basis.

The Farming Transformation Fund

This fund provides grants towards large capital items to help businesses improve productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. They are:

  • Water Management
  • Improving Farm Productivity
  • Adding Value

Defra have opened up for applications for the Water Management grant. The other two grants will be launched later this year (Improving Farm Productivity) and January 2022 (Adding Value).

The key features of the Water Management Grant are:

  • The minimum grant you can claim is £35,000 (40% of £87,500).
  • The maximum grant is £500,000.
  • Two stage process (Eligibility check and full application).

The grant can pay up to 40% of the costs for:

  • Constructing water storage reservoirs
  • Abstraction points, pumps and pipework to fill a reservoir
  • Irrigation pumps, controls, underground water distribution systems
  • Water meters
  • Best-practice application equipment such as boom or trickle irrigators
  • Software and sensors to optimise water application

When to apply:

Grant stageOpensCloses
Check if you’re eligible16 November 202112 January 2022
Full application16 November 202130 June 2022

Any planning permission or abstraction licences must be in place by 31 December 2022.

The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF)

The second application window for the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund is now open (November 2021).

The Government has announced that organisations seeking investment for nature projects to tackle climate change, create and restore habitats, or improve water quality are being urged to apply for the second and final round of the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund.

The fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses and other organisations to help them develop nature projects in England to a point where they can attract private investment.

Applicants have until 3 February 2022 to apply. Application forms and guidance can be found on Gov.uk

Full details are provided in the Press release – Round 2

ARC have knowledge and experience in supporting partnerships develop projects and have supported them in applying for round 1 funding.

Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is a part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan.

It will offer funding to farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), National Parks and the Broads. It is not an agri-environment scheme.

The programme will fund projects that:

  • support nature recovery
  • mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
  • support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has been developed by Defra with the support of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Park staff from across England.

The programme runs from July 2021 to March 2024.

Grants between £2,000 and £75,000.

The Farming Innovation Programme: Department or Environment & Rural Affairs

The Farming Innovation Programme was launched 20th October 2021

Applications open to farmers, growers, and foresters in England with an exciting idea that you’re looking to develop into a project; an established partnership of UK businesses looking to take the next step towards commercialising your innovative product; or a business from outside the sector with an idea that could prove to be a game-changer for farming in England.

Projects in this fund must be led by businesses, and will cover the traditional arable, livestock and horticulture sectors, as well as funding innovation in novel food production systems. For example, automation, controlled environment agriculture, bioeconomy and agroforestry.

The Industry-led Research and Development Partnerships Fund is made up of 4 different projects:

Research Starter Projects

  • These are designed to help farmers, growers, and foresters based in England develop bold, ambitious, early-stage ideas and build a collaborative team.
  • Applications for Research Starter Projects will open 20 October and close 24 November 2021.

Feasibility Projects

  • These are designed to test the feasibility of early-stage solutions and to inform decisions on subsequent, larger scale research and development projects.
  • Applications for Feasibility Projects will open 20 October and close 1 December 2021.

Small Research and Development Partnership Projects

  • These are designed to carry out research for innovative solutions that have the potential to substantially improve the overall productivity, sustainability, and resilience of the sectors.
  • Applications for Small Research and Development Partnership Projects will open 20 October and close 1 December 2021.

Large Research and Development Partnership Projects

  • These are solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, sustainability, and resilience of the sector.
  • Applications for Large Research and Development Partnership Projects will launch in 2022.

The Industry-led Research and Development Partnerships Fund will be delivered in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Visit then new Farming Innovation site for more information and to apply.

England Woodland Creation Offer – Forestry Commission

Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply to the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) for support to create new woodland, including through natural colonisation, on areas as small as 1 hectare. EWCO opened for applications on 9 June 2021 and replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund, which closed for applications in March 2021.

The grant is administered by the Forestry Commission and is funded through the Nature for Climate Fund.

There are four types of payments available under EWCO:

  • support for the capital items and activities to establish new woodland, at 100% of standard costs
  • 10 years of annual Maintenance Payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete
  • contribution towards the actual cost of installing infrastructure to either enable the current and future management of the woodland, or to provide recreational access
  • optional Additional Contributions where the location of the woodland and its design will deliver public benefits. You can apply for multiple Additional Contributions on the same land where it touches the right spatial layer and the design is compatible

EWCO is a criteria-based, competitive scheme, with funding offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Woodland Carbon Guarantee- Forestry Commission

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. It is an objective in the 25 Year Environment Plan and was announced in the autumn 2018 Budget.

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee provides you with the option to sell your captured carbon in the form of verified carbon credits, called Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs), to the government for a guaranteed price every 5 or 10 years up to 2055/56. This provides an additional long-term income from your woodland. If you prefer, you can still choose to sell the credits on the open market rather than to the government. WCUs are generated through verification checks carried out under the Woodland Carbon Code, which assess how the woodland has grown and therefore how much carbon dioxide has been captured.

What is on offer?
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.

Find out more about the funding on offer in the Woodland Carbon Guarantee leaflet and in the more in-depth guide to Getting Started with the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.

The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

This fund supports industrial sites with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future. The Fund targets industrial processes, helping industry to:

  • cut energy bills by investing in more efficient technologies; and
  • reduce emissions by bringing down the costs and risks associated with investing in deep decarbonisation technologies.

Funding is allocated through a competitive process aimed at supporting the highest quality and most transformational bids. The fund is open to a broad range of industrial sectors and will support applicants based in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, both within and outside of industrial clusters.

The UK government announced £315 million of funding in the 2018 Budget, available up until 2025. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) manages the IETF for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with £289 million to invest over consecutive application windows split into two phases. This guidance document relates to Phase 2 of the IETF, and specifically the first application window of Phase 2 (Autumn 2021).

Grant fund over £100,000 and intervention rates of up to 70%.

Rural Community Energy Fund – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £10 million programme which supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects, which provide economic and social benefits to the community.

RCEF provides support to rural communities in 2 stages:

  • stage 1: grants of up to £40,000 for a feasibility study for a renewable energy project
  • stage 2: grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning of feasible schemes

RCEF is being run by 5 regional Local Energy Hubs. If you would like to register your interest for the scheme, or would like further information, please contact the relevant hub for your area.

Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure – Office for Low Emission Vehicles

The government offers grants to support the wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles via the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This includes:

  • The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK.
  • The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations.

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme – Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

The Government is providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people suffering from slow broadband speeds in rural areas.

Vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps.

The new new UK Gigabit Voucher launched in April 2021 and is only available through a supplier who is registered with the scheme.

Grants for Heritage – National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund provide different levels of funding to heritage of all shapes and sizes. Their grants range from £3,000 up to millions of pounds. The aim of the funding programmes are for projects to connect people and communities to the national, regional and local heritage of the UK.

Current programmes in England include:

  • National Lottery Grants for Heritage – these range from: £3,000 to £10,000 grants; £10,000 to £250,000 and £250,000 to £5 million. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means that the Fund will prioritise heritage projects that:
    • promote inclusion and involve a wider range of people (a mandatory outcome)
    • boost the local economy
    • encourage skills development and job creation
    • support wellbeing
    • create better places to live, work and visit
    • improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage