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Water quality improvement grants unveiled

Farmers in 50 priority catchment areas across England are being invited to apply for £10.5 million worth of water quality improvement grants.

Natural England has extended the closing date for applications until Friday 6th May.

The total amount of grant funding available from the Capital Grant Scheme has been increased from the £7.5 million announced last month to £10.5 million. The funds come from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

Grants are available for a range of improvements that help reduce and disseminate pollution from agriculture, including the construction of fencing near rivers and streams, installing water troughs, and roofing manure and silage stores.

The closing date for applications to be received by Natural England has been extended from 30 April until Friday 6th May to allow for the bank holidays and to give farmers extra time to submit their bids for funding.

Since the scheme began in 2007, thousands of land managers and farmers have received more than £22 million in grants for works.

Ian Fugler, Natural England's director of land management, urged farmers to get applications in before the deadline.

"The increase in the amount of funding available this year is very welcome and we look forward to receiving high quality applications that will achieve the greatest benefits for water purity," he said.

"Projects funded by this scheme over the past four years are already providing improvements for farmers, the general public and wildlife by reducing diffuse pollution at source."

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