Defra to pay out £34 in Slurry Infrastructure Grants as Plan for Water published
4th Apr 2023 / By Alistair Driver
Nearly £34 million will be made available through the first round of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant scheme, more than two-and-a-half times the original budget.
The deadline for applying for the grants closed at the end of January and interest among livestock producers exceeded expectations.
More than 1,200 applications were received for the first round of the grant. Defra said it wants to help as many farms as possible to upgrade their slurry storage, but needs to balance the high demand for grants with the capacity of slurry store suppliers to increase production.
A total of 374 projects, including a number from pig producers, have been invited to submit a full application for a share of £33.9 million in funding – up from £13.2 million when the grant was first announced last year. This is based on an assessment of what the market could handle following conversations with suppliers and installers and considering the types of store farmers have applied for, Defra said.
With around half of slurry stores in England not being fit-for-purpose, including many in the dairy sector, the grant will provide farmers with between £25,000-£250,000 to build, replace or expand storage and can contribute towards a range of solutions like lagoons, steel and concrete ring tanks and large slurry bags.
The NPA is already in discussion with Defra over the second round of the Slurry Infrastructure Scheme and is hopeful it will include more opportunities for pig producers, many of which were unable to apply for the first round as their storge already included most of the elements covered.
Enlarging and covering slurry stores is a key step in Defra’s Environmental Improvement Plan to meet new targets for water and air quality, by reducing what it said was the 60% of nitrate pollution, 25% of phosphate pollution and 87% of ammonia emissions that come from agriculture. It will also help farmers to cut costs on artificial fertilisers, delivering long-term productivity benefits through improved nutrient management and soil health, the Department added.
- You can read more about the first round of Slurry Infrastructure Grants and the next steps HERE
Plan for water
Defra announced the funding, as the Government published a new Plan for Water, which covers both the quality of the water environment and water resources.
Defra said it will transform the whole water system - tackling every source of pollution, including from storm overflows, agriculture, plastics, road run-off, chemicals and pesticides, as well as the pressures on our water supply as a result of hotter, drier summers and population growth.
Second round for water management grant
Defra has also announced that the second round of the Water Management Grant will see £10 million in funding made available for farmers to improve farm productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation, and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by constructing on-farm reservoirs and adopting best practice irrigation application equipment.
Grants will be available for between £35,000 and £500,000, which will ensure that funding supports farms of all sizes while committing to supporting higher value projects which align with the fund’s objectives.
The grant will be open later in April with an online checker available to help farmers determine their eligibility and likelihood of success.
Defra is also doubling funding to £15m for free advice to farmers across the country through the Catchment Sensitive Farming scheme and accelerating the rollout of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “Communities across the country want to see clean and plentiful water in our rivers and streams, and farmers have a huge role in helping to deliver this.
“We know that farmers want to do the right thing, which is why - as part of today’s Plan for Water – we’re providing even more funding for farmers both to reduce their water pollution from slurry and better manage the water on their farms.”