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Government support payments – Are you eligible?

IT is widely known that the agricultural industry has long had access to government support payments for the occupation of land, but it is perhaps less well known that the potential eligibility for such payments has, in recent years, expanded into other areas, such as the quarrying, opencast and landfill industries.

According to rural property consultants Smiths Gore, support payments are available under three main headings:

  • Environmental payments for managing land in a way which benefits and targets specific habitats and species (this could be pre- or post-extraction/restoration of a mineral/landfill site).
  • Grants for woodland creation and management.
  • Payments in relation to agricultural land held by a business, irrespective of the type of business carried out by the occupier.

Mineral and landfill companies often hold agricultural or restored land containing important species-diverse habitats, and this, and any other similar land, could be eligible for grants to manage/enhance existing habitats or create new habitats, thereby generating income for a 10-year period.

The grants, depending on specific circumstances, are available outside any restoration or aftercare scheme necessitated by a planning permission.
 
Moreover, a site being reinstated from an opencast operation back to woodland could potentially attract funding for new tree planting and/or management of any existing woodland on the site.

In England, all of these schemes first require the business of the quarry/landfill operator to be registered with the RPA (or in Wales with WAG, in Scotland with SGRPID and in Northern Ireland with DARD). Any individual pieces of land then need to be registered with the same UK authority.

Registration is free and once completed a scheme can be applied for providing it meets the relevant criteria. Funding for the schemes is competitive, so any application should be carefully planned and put together to maximize the chance of success.

For further information contact: John Dutson, Head of Minerals & Waste at Smiths Gore, on tel: (01962) 857408; or email: [email protected]

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