European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) – Research and Innovation Call Open in Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough

Launch of Research and Innovation Call for proposals in Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP area.

A Research and Innovation Call for Proposals has been launched under the European Regional Development Fund stream of the European Structural and Investment Funds for Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough.

Grants from a minimum of £500,000 are available to run a project promoting research and innovation in the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP area, specifically promoting business investment in research and innovation.

Eligible activities covered by the Call include developing links and synergies between enterprises, research and development centres and the Higher Education sector, in particular promoting investment in product and service development, technology transfer, social innovation, eco-innovation, public service applications, demand stimulation, networking, clusters and open innovation through smart specialisation.

Other activities include supporting technological and applied research, pilot lines, early product validation actions, advance manufacturing capabilities and first production, in particular in key enabling technologies and diffusion of general purpose technologies.

The total budget for the call is £500,000. It is anticipated that funding will be awarded for up to three years and projects must cover the Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP area.

The deadline for outline applications is 20 April 2018.


Government Announces Support for Farmers and Growers in England’s Food Supply Chain

Funding and supplementary support is to be offered to create more security for dairy farmers.

The Government has announced a range of new measures, including compulsory milk contracts and a multi-million-pound fund, to provide greater security for England’s dairy farmers.

A Collaboration Fund of up to £10 million will be introduced as part of a series of measures to help farmers and small producers compete and thrive alongside larger businesses in the food supply chain.

The scheme will be designed in consultation with the farming industry and will work by uniting those interested in co-operation. The funding will help these groups to formally establish, develop or expand, so that farmers and growers can take advantage of new market opportunities to help their businesses prosper.

Collaboration between farmers can bring substantial economic benefits, enabling farmers to benefit from economies of scale, share knowledge and jointly market their produce.

Announcing the measures Farming Minister George Eustice said:

“This package of measures is designed to improve transparency and integrity within the food supply chain and to support collaborative business models where producers can come together to strengthen their position or work jointly on specific areas of work.

“Too often in the past, farmers have ended up being price takers and there have been too many instances where a lack of transparency in prices and charges by some processors has undermined the market. If we want a successful farming industry in the future then it is essential that we have properly functioning markets and that farmers receive a fair share of the value of the food they produce.”

The new measures will apply to farmers and smaller producers in England and are expected to be brought in later in 2018. The collaboration fund will also open for applications later this year. Collaboration Fund

RDPE Growth Programme – Expression of Interest Deadline date Extended

You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.
There are 3 types of grant:

  • Business development
  • Food processing
  • Rural tourism infrastructure

The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF). The whole aim of the RDPE Growth Programme is to create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Applications will need to show how projects will help do this. The expression of interest (EOI) deadline has been extended to 31 May 2018.

Time is running out to apply for rural project grants

The Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) is keen to make sure communities, farmers and small businesses make full use of the grants on offer before we leave the EU.

Since the start of the current programme in 2015 the LAG has committed £630,000 of its £1.2million budget and has several exciting projects in the pipeline. The programme has supported a variety of projects including farming projects to increase productivity, tourism and business developments and a Village Hall.

All grants under the LEADER Programme must be allocated by March 2019. Anyone with a viable idea can contact or  Alison Earl 01353 865044

More information and case studies can be found via the website

“We’re particularly keen to hear about new project ideas that create jobs and boost the local economy but we need project ideas before we run out of time,” Kieran Carr, Programme Manager.

In addition to spending our current fund, we’re working hard to ensure politicians understand that in a post-Brexit future Cambridgeshire Fens needs financial support to grow the rural economy, create good jobs and support communities.

Defra Announces New Countryside Stewardship Funding for England’s Farmers and Land Managers

New Countryside Stewardship Offers have been introduced to help more farmers and land managers protect wildlife and enhance the environment.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme has opened for farmers and land managers in England to request 2018 application packs.

This year there are four new funding strands open to applications, which are designed to be simpler and easier to apply for. They comprise:

  • Arable Offer
  • Lowland Grazing Offer
  • Mixed Farming Offer
  • Upland Offer

These new offers are being introduced for 2018, complementing the existing Higher Tier and Mid Tier offers, opening the scheme to more farmers and land managers. All landowners who make a valid application for any of the four new packages this year will be guaranteed funding though the scheme.

The programme is an opportunity for farmers new to Countryside Stewardship, or those coming out of previous stewardship agreements, to sign up for an agreement that will be guaranteed for its lifetime, to protect wildlife, boost biodiversity and deliver environmental benefits for their local communities.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

“The new Countryside Stewardship offers available this year are much simpler to apply for and cover a full range of different farm types, so farmers can deliver environmental benefits wherever and whatever they farm.

“My message to farmers who’ve been put off Countryside Stewardship in the last few rounds is to take another look and see what’s on offer this year. We’ve listened to farmers and we’ve simplified the offering to create a universal scheme to appeal to farmers new to stewardship and those coming out of ELS so they can continue the good work on their farms.”

Farmers and land managers have until 31 May 2018 to request an application pack.

Environment Secretary Plans for New Farming Subsidy Post Brexit

Michael Gove has indicated that the Common Agricultural Policy will be replaced with new farming subsidies once the UK leaves the European Union.

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, has suggested that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be replaced by a new ‘green farming’ system. The minister believes the current CAP system, whereby 80% of subsidies (around £2.1 billion a year in the UK, via the Basic Payment Scheme), is flawed.

The new plans amount to reforming the current subsidy regime, moving to a system where payments are made according to the environmental benefits that farmers and landowners deliver, rather than the amount of land owned.

The fresh regime is likely to be phased in over a five-year transition period and is expected to incentivise farmers and landowners to embrace practices such as:

  • planting woodland;
  • providing new habitats for wildlife;
  • increasing biodiversity;
  • contributing to improved water quality; and
  • returning cultivated land to wildflower meadows or other more natural states.

Michael Gove said:

“I believe we should help landowners and managers to make the transition from our current system of subsidy to a new approach of public money for public goods over time.

“We have guaranteed that the amount we allocate to farming support – in cash terms – will be protected throughout and beyond this [transition] period right up until the end of this Parliament in 2022.

“We will continue support for Countryside Stewardship agreements entered into before we leave the EU and we will ensure that no-one in an existing scheme is unfairly disadvantaged when we transition to new arrangements. We will pay the 2019 BPS scheme on the same basis as we do now.

“I then envisage guaranteeing that BPS payments continue for a transition period in England, which should last a number of years beyond the implementation period, depending on consultation.

“During these years, we propose to first reduce the largest BPS payments in England. We could do this through a straight cap at a maximum level or through a sliding scale of reductions, to the largest payments first. After that transition, we will replace BPS with a system of public money for public goods.”

Source: Defra, 05/01/2018

Michael Gove prepares to unveil limit on farm support

This article tells us:

Government plans to limit the amount of direct payments received by larger farmers will be unveiled as soon as January. Capping is one of the first changes that will be made after the UK leaves the European Union, said Defra secretary Michael Gove. A Defra paper to be published next month will detail the means by which the government will introduce the cap, he said.

Government Announces Reorganisation of Support for Farmers and Landowners

Plans to refocus government funding programmes for England’s rural businesses have been set out at the Country Land and Business Association’s annual Rural Business Conference.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has announced plans to streamline and simplify government support for farmers, following the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

The Secretary of State has outlined how Defra will make practical and pragmatic changes to existing farm support systems, improving the process and enabling farmers to focus on their day-to-day activities.

Michael Gove believes the current system of farm support to be inefficient, ineffective, inequitable, and environmentally harmful. He has spoken of a need to change the way the government invests in the countryside so farmers can more readily access support to protect wildlife, enhance the environment and improve land use.

To begin the reorganisation process, there will be simplifications made to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme through the creation of four new streamlined offers which are set to launch early in the New Year. The revised offers are expected to have a simpler application process, with less paperwork, making it easier for farmers and land managers to apply and deliver environmental benefits on their land.

The Secretary of State also announced further support including a further £45 million top-up to the RDPE Growth Programme to help rural business development, food processing and rural infrastructure projects.

The Government has already pledged to match the support farmers currently receive from the CAP until the end of the current parliament and set out its intention to continue supporting farmers where the environmental benefits are clear.

Michael Gove said:

“I have set out plans to improve our current schemes, starting with simplifying support for farmers to protect and enhance our landscapes and countryside.

“But these measures are just the beginning – the first steps towards a simplified system of support. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working closely with our farmers to make sure we listen to what they want as we design a new approach and realise our vision for the future of UK food and farming outside the EU.”

Source: Defra, 28/11/2017

£14 Million Water Resource Management Grants for England’s Arable Farmers

These grants are to improve farm productivity in England through more efficient use of water for irrigation, and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by the construction of on-farm reservoirs.

Farmers in England are being encouraged to make use of new grant funding available to improve and construct water resources. The £14 million funding for Water Resource Management Grants was first announced in the summer, as part of the Countryside Productivity Scheme.

The aim is to improve farm and horticultural productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by the construction of on-farm reservoirs.

The minimum grant which can be applied for is £35,000. The maximum grant available is £1 million and the grant can be used to fund up to 40% of a project’s total cost.

Grant funding can help pay for:

  • construction of a water storage reservoir (above or below ground) filled by either peak flow surface water abstraction, borehole or rain water harvested from buildings;
  • abstraction point, pump and pipework to fill the reservoir;
  • irrigation pump, controls, underground water distribution main;
  • water metering equipment;
  • best practice application equipment such as boom or trickle irrigation;
  • software and sensors to optimise water application.

These grants are for arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated crops in England.

Rural adviser at the CLA (Country Land and Business Association), Katy Anderson, said:

“Grants like this are not always available. A previous scheme closed back in January 2016 so it is extremely important that anyone considering making improvements to water resource management does not miss out.

“Applicants with projects demonstrating improved productivity, business growth, efficiency and better financial resilience stand more chance of gaining funding. Collaborative ventures between farms also stand a better chance.”

Initially a deadline of early April 2018 was set for applications. However, this has now been extended until 29 June 2018.!S43579?bcr=MTIzNQ

European funding workshops for rural businesses – December 8th, 2017

Don’t miss out on current EU funding opportunities for micro and small businesses. (fewer than 50 employees, turnover less than 10m Euros)

Free support and advice on eligibility and the application process for GRANT money.

Friday December 8th 2017 – 7:30am – 6:00pm

Kieran Carr and Alison Earl will be offering informal one to one sessions in the offices of Grovemere Property Ltd, Unit 112, Lancaster Way Business Park, Ely, Cambs CB6 3NX

If you wish to attend please book a one hour time slot with Alison Earl, 01353 865044

workshop invite Dec 2017