Selaine Saxby MP, has called for more support for farmers to help them with slurry storage.
On 12 October, Defra published full details about round two of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant ahead of applications opening this November. This includes maps of the updated target areas and an explanation of how they can be used.
Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon has welcomed that the expansion now covers parts of North Devon, including around the Taw-Torridge Estuary and the Combe Martin catchment area.
Selaine Saxby MP for North Devon said:
“I have spoken to many farmers who are desperate to apply for this support and having talked about this and written to the Secretary of State to specifically prioritise North Devon for this round, I am pleased to see that some catchment areas are included in round two.
It will not be enough as these schemes are heavily oversubscribed but encouragingly 30% of the grants from round one was not allocated in the specific designated areas. So please, even if you are outside these areas, do apply.
When we talk about water quality there is a tendency to focus on what our water companies are doing, but land and road run off contributes far more pollution throughout the course of the year. After Environment Agency inspections in sensitive catchment areas in 2022/23, 70% of farms were found to be non-compliant. This is not always, in fact rarely the farms’ fault; we all want better water quality, but farmers need help to do what I know they want to do in making the land they manage sustainable and profitable.
These grants are vital, and they will help, but so will working with DEFRA, South West Water, the Environment Agency, The Rivers’ Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust and the community. We have seen what can be done locally in Combe Martin as part of the wider ‘upstream thinking’ project but there is still more to do and our responsible local farmers need more support and more access to well supported grant schemes like this.”