Groups of farmers and landowners are being invited to bid for a share of £2.5 million of funding to invest in joint environmental projects.
The fourth Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund supports individuals or organisations who bring farmers, foresters and other land managers together to improve the natural environment at a landscape rather than single-farm scale as well as achieve greater improvements than individual holdings could do on their own.
The funding is expected to support around 40 new groups to deliver large-scale environmental improvements in their areas, including natural flood prevention, enhancing wildlife habitats or planting more trees, over the next three years.
To apply, groups must submit plans by 4th October, showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities.
Successful facilitation groups will also offer training, support and advice to potential applicants for projects starting in 2021.
The programme is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
RPA Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said: “Today’s announcement means that more farmers will have the opportunity to benefit from this funding and deliver long term improvements for the environment, working with other local farmers.
“With this funding, facilitators will be able to amplify the benefits brought by the Countryside Stewardship schemes, as well as reaping the rewards for farmers, land managers and our rural communities.”