Farmers in the midlands have until January 31 to apply for an environmental grant of up to £5,000.

Dr. Jodie Rettino, Severn Trent Catchment Management, and head of biodiversity, explained that the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS) aims to minimise pollution and protect local watercourses.

To be eligible for funding, farms must be within a Severn Trent target area and must be at least 3ha in size.

She explained: “Our catchment management programme focuses on working closely with farmers, to reduce the overall quantity of water that has to undergo expensive treatment, as this helps us keep consumers’ bills down.

“The STEPS grant provides livestock and arable farmers with match-funding for a wide variety of infrastructure and land management items that work towards minimising pollution and protecting watercourses.

For example, project options range from livestock pasture pumps, cover crops, rainwater harvesting and covering pesticide wash-down areas.

Rettino pointed out that there is also an innovation option which gives farmers the opportunity to apply for a project that is not listed as an option in the handbook but will improve the farm business and work towards the goals of the STEPS initiative.

The STEPS scheme offers grants of up to £5,000 per year, per farm, and farms can apply to the scheme in consecutive years to continue making improvements.

“We are keen to hear farmers’ proposed solutions as it fosters innovation,” she added.

Continuing, Rettino explained how farmers can avail of the initiative: “The application process is straight forward.

“I would recommend that farmers read the STEPS handbook and discuss possible improvement measures with their local agricultural advisor to increase their chances of a successful application,” she concluded.