H&H Land and Property have welcomed the announcement this week by Natural England that the Hedgerows & Boundaries Grant (HBG) is to be re-launched. “Following a change in the eligibility rules, this now means that the grant will be available to more farmers than ever before,” explains David Morley, Head of Conservation and Environment at H&H Land and Property.
In 2016, farmers or landowners with an Entry Level Stewardship agreement or Woodland Grant Scheme were barred from applying. With the removal of this restriction, the grant in 2017 is now available to those farmers, even if it is covered by their existing agreement. However, land in an Uplands Entry Level or Higher Level Stewardship agreement or a Mid-Tier or Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreement cannot be included in an HBG application.
The 2017 application window is now open and runs from 1st February to 28th April. As was the case last year, farmers can apply for a one-off grant of up to £5000 towards the restoration of hedgerows, dry stone walls, stone-faced banks or earth banks.
As with all elements of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, the application process is competitive and there is limited budget available. All applications will be scored and only those with the highest scores will secure a grant. Applications will generally be more likely to be successful if:
- The farming business has previously had an Environmental Stewardship agreement (ELS or HLS) or a Woodland Scheme.
- The smaller the holding, the more chance of success.
- The application is to restore hedges or walls, rather than stone-faced or earth banks.
- The greater the length of boundary being restored, the higher the score.
- The holding is linked to a group receiving Facilitation Fund payments.
Farmers who applied successfully last year can apply again, but businesses that have not previously received a grant will be given priority.
The standard payment rates for the capital items that can be applied for remain unchanged and include:
- Hedge laying £9.40 per metre
- Coppicing of hedgerows £4.00 per metre
- Hedgerow restoration through gapping up £9.50 per metre
- Stone-faced bank repair £31.00 per metre
- Stone wall restoration £25.00 per metre
- Stone wall top wiring supplement (on walls being restored) £3.60 per metre
To conclude, David said:
“This year, successful applicants will be made a grant offer in June 2017 and, if accepted, the agreement will start on 1st July. The applicant then has until 31st December 2018 to complete the work and submit their claim. A competitive application will be critical in securing a grant; it is therefore strongly recommended that potential applicants seek professional advice to maximise their chances of success.”
For more information about the grants available contact David Morley or Mike Dyke at H&H Land and Property, on 01228 406260 or visit www.hhland.co.uk