“As part of a planned investment of £3.5 billion into the rural economy, Defra has announced a £200 million round of grant funding to support rural businesses investing in new equipment; to help farmers and foresters with projects to improve farm productivity; and to help provide superfast broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster where this is not available or planned”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“The application process for grant funding for foresters for projects to improve productivity, and funding for arable farmers and horticultural businesses for water resource management projects has already opened.
Eligible projects for improving forestry productivity include forestry machinery and equipment such as harvesters, forwarders and trailers and firewood processors. Eligible projects also include the construction of buildings to process, store and season timber and processed firewood, and buildings to store woodchip. The water resources management grants are for projects that will increase the area of land irrigated, such as constructing water storage reservoirs and associated infrastructure, and trickle and boom irrigators.
The grants are for a minimum of £35,000 and can cover up to 40% of the eligible costs of a project. At 40% of qualifying costs, the minimum total eligible cost of a project is, therefore, £87,500. The maximum grant per project is normally £1 million. The deadline for applications is 3 April 2018 and any planning consents or water extraction licences that are required must be in place before applying”, explains Dinnis.
Dinnis adds, “details of the support package to help other rural businesses, including those engaged in tourism, to expand, diversify, and invest in new equipment is expected to be announced later this year. Defra’s announcement has, however, already said that significant amounts of funding will be provided to farm businesses to invest in new infrastructure, including buildings. Details of the package to improve rural broadband will also be announced later this year”. Dinnis advises, “in the meantime, given the time it can take to obtain planning permissions and to prepare an application for grant funding, would be applicants for eligible forestry or water resource management projects should start planning them now to ensure the necessary consents can be obtained before the application deadline”.
For information on grant funding for rural businesses and any rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.