Funding boost for rural businesses across England
Published January 17th, 2017
Funding totalling £120 million will be made available to support farmers, grow businesses, and generate thousands of jobs in rural communities, the Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced at the Oxford Farming Conference.
Applications will soon be open for the next round of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme, which will help new businesses get off the ground and support existing companies to grow, develop new products and access new export markets.
Speaking after the Oxford Farming Conference, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “A quarter of England’s businesses are based in the countryside and this funding will give rural start-ups, family-run businesses and farmers looking to diversify the boost they need.
“The RDPE has already supported a range of projects, from installing cutting-edge equipment to restoring flood plains, and the next round will help create more jobs, sell more products and help us access new markets.”
As well as boosting businesses and creating jobs, past RDPE projects have benefited the natural environment – with money granted to Dovecote Farm in Northants helping restore flood-plain meadows and grassland along the Nene Valley, while supporting species like otters.
Confirmation of next steps for the RDPE follows the Chancellor’s recent guarantee on supporting projects signed before we leave the EU, providing they are good value for money and are in line with domestic strategic priorities.
The £120 million fund will sit alongside recently announced funding for other RDPE projects, including woodland creation and a flood action facilitation fund. Overall the RDPE will help protect 2.5 million hectares of farmed land, create 6,750 rural jobs and contribute to planting of 11 million trees.
Flood action facilitation fund
Up to £720,000 will be made available to encourage groups of farmers, foresters and other land managers to develop natural flood management projects on their land.
The new funding will help groups of farmers and other land managers in areas hit by last winter’s flooding to work together to reduce flood risk and apply for funding to plant trees, create water meadows and restore rivers to their natural meanders.
This fund builds on the government’s commitment to using natural flood management techniques to better protect communities from flooding, with £15 million pledged for natural defences in the Autumn Statement.
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