7th Round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund, enabling farmers, nature groups and charities to share knowledge to protect the local environment, now open to applications (application deadline 25th January 2023).

The latest round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund opened on Monday 7th November 2022, giving groups of farmers and landowners in England the opportunity to work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance the local environment, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities.

The £2.5 million fund encourages collaboration between farming groups and supports Government efforts to improve the environment and create cleaner, greener landscapes. The fund is an important part of the Rural Payments Agency’s aim to support agricultural and rural communities across the country.

The funding allows facilitators, for example local farming and nature groups and charities, to give advice and share knowledge with groups of farmers and other land managers on activities such as restoring habitats for wildlife and improving biodiversity, creating woodland, improving air and water quality, or restoring historic environments.

This is the 7th round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund under the current Rural Development Programme for England. 180 groups with over 4,000 members have benefited from the funding so far, with this round of funding expected to benefit more than 40 further groups.

Previous projects to have benefited have include:

o Running demonstration days in timber extraction and wood processing in Morecambe Bay.
o Exploring measures to reduce flooding along the Glenderamackin river in the Lake District.
o Improving farmers’ understanding of ground nesting birds in the Upper Nidderdale, and
o Helping to reconnect farmers with nature and improving their confidence in conservation farming in the White Peak.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 25th January 2023.

Further information about the Countryside Stewardship  Facilitation Fund, including how to apply, is available on the GOV.UK website.