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Hedgerows and boundaries grant

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Natural England have launched the Countryside Stewardship; Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant Scheme.

This scheme gives applicants the opportunity to carry out up to £5000 worth of capital works to hedgerows, stone walls, stone-faced banks and earth banks.

Hedgerows and boundaries grant

Stone wall restoration (BN12) can only be used where at least one third of the original height has to be dismantled and rebuilt

The 12 available options come straight out of the Countryside Stewardship (CS) stable. They are the same options that are available in mid and higher tier.

Natural England has defined the target applicant as a land manager who doesn’t want to apply for a multi-annual agreement in mid or higher tier.

A 2016 Hedgerows and Boundaries grant agreement holder can apply for a 2017 multi-annual CS agreement. However, agreement holders who have an existing multi-annual agreement on 1st July 2016 cannot apply for 2016 Hedgerows and Boundary Grant.

The total spend over the next 5 years for this strand of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme is likely to be £25 million or £5 million per annum.

Successful applicants have 2 years to complete the capital works that they have applied to do and the work can be completed and claimed early if the work is completed ahead of schedule. The scheme is designed to be light touch and therefore there is no facility to amend or transfer any part of the agreement. Any work carried out has to be retained and looked after for 5 years from the start date of the agreement.

The scheme is competitive but not targeted. All applications will be scored and ranked. Agreements will be offered until the money runs out. Unsuccessful applicants can choose to apply again the following year or perhaps consider incorporating the capital works into a multi-annual application for Countryside Stewardship mid-tier.

The score of an application is enhanced by:

  • Including specific items – hedge laying and stone wall restoration receive a bonus score
  • Being a recent agri-environment scheme agreement holder or a member of a CS Facailitated group
  • Including plenty of boundaries for restoration (up to £5k)
  • Smaller farms using the maximum available grant will score higher to reflect the intensity of the work required on a smaller farm.

The application process is open now and closes on 30th April. Successful applicants will be notified in July 2016, in good time for the planting season. Applicants are required to complete a map and send it with the downloadable application form and schedule to Natural England. Application forms are available on the GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countryside-stewardship-capital-grant-application-form

For more information on the Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant or Countryside Stewardship please contact Fiona Tweedie, Agri-environment Consultant on 0113 390 0012.

Hedgerow gapping-up (BN7) is one of the 12 options in the scheme

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