Defra launches £20m ‘greening’ fund for rural businesses

A new £20m fund to boost profits for rural businesses and reduce their impact on the environment has been launched today by Agriculture Minister Jim Paice.

The fund forms part of Defra’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and will be open to farmers, foresters and horticulturalists who want to invest in green projects and new machinery. They can apply for grants of up to £25,000 for projects.

To be eligible for a grant, which can be up to £25,000, the project must fall within key areas of activity. These include bringing about significant improvements in farm animal health and welfare; nutrient management and improvements in use of farm manures and slurries to improve soil quality and reduce reliance on artificial fertiliser, energy efficiency, water resource management, and projects which improve the economic value of forests.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said: “Growing our economy goes hand-in-hand with protecting and improving our environment. We want rural businesses to thrive and this new fund will help farmers, foresters and horticulturists to boost their profits and use greener and more efficient ways of working.”

Grants will cover a maximum of half of the total cost of projects in uplands areas and at most 40% of the total cost of projects in non uplands areas.