The government have announced an expansion of the popular Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme to cover every farm in England.
The programme – which is a partnership between Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency can provide free 1-2-1 advice to farmers to help them reduce water and air pollution through management of farmyard manure and soils among other things.
In recent years it has reduced the number of serious water pollution incidents by almost a fifth, and helped farmers access £100m in grants to help protect the environment.
The funding for the programme will now be almost doubled, with an additional £17m over the next three years. The new annual budget will be £30m, up from £16.6m in 2020 / 21.
The extra funding will provide more Natural England advisers to help farmers implement practical solutions to reduce pollution, including planting new grassland buffer strips to improve drainage, establishing river side trees to reduce run off into rivers and using better slurry storage facilities to avoid accidental spillage.
There are currently around 40 per cent of farmers involved in the scheme, but with the doubling of funding available Defra aim to have every farmer in the country taking part by 2023.
In addition, Defra has announced it will allocate the Environment Agency £1.2 million to significantly increase the number of inspectors visiting farmers to reduce diffuse water pollution, with 50 additional full time employees recruited for inspections.