A sixth round of the popular Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has been announced this week.

The fund is a part of Defra’s plans for a renewed agricultural sector, centred around incentivising sustainable farming practices alongside profitable food production. The £2.5 million fund supports individuals and organisations who bring farmers, foresters, and other land managers together to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale. Groups of farmers are encouraged to collaborate and formulate their ideas well in advance of the fund opening in December.

To apply, groups must submit plans showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment and deliver large-scale environmental improvement, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities. 139 groups with over 3,800 members have received money through five previous rounds of the fund, which Natural England claim has enabled coordinated action to restore and manage habitat at a scale capable of encouraging environmental recovery – boosting natural resilience for wildlife, farming and livelihoods.

Existing and new groups are expected to benefit from this latest £2.5 million round of funding.

Applications will close on 19 January 2022. Facilitators will need to be registered with the RPA. Further information is expected later this year.

Author: Melanie Holt