About Us

Severn Trent's Environmental Protection Schemes

Helping Farms across the region protect their local environment and improve farm infrastructure.

Welcome to the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS).

Familiar to many farms, land agents and estate owners across our region, STEPS is part of our Farming 4 Water catchment management programme.

The great thing about our STEPS scheme is that we try and reflect the changing outlook for farmers and landowners in our region.

We listen to feedback from farms we’re already working with, and our team of local agricultural advisors, who work to support farms in their specific catchments.

We also run Spring STEPS and for both schemes, we offer an option for farmers to submit an innovative idea, specially developed for their farm business.

How STEPS could help you

The STEPS grant schemes offer farmers and land managers, both owners and tenants, financial and technical support, to invest in tailored solutions to help tackle diffuse water pollution and to protect and maintain biodiversity and the natural environment.

STEPS for protecting water quality has been running since 2015, and we’ve awarded more than 1,900 grants for projects including

  • cover crops
  • pesticide washdown areas
  • biofilters

Eligibility for STEPS

You can apply for our main STEPS options all year round. Applications close on Monday 31 January 2022.

To be eligible for support from STEPS, you must:

We’ll match-fund up to £10,000 per application.

If you have any questions about your eligibility or your catchment area, you should contact your local agricultural advisor who will be able to advise you.


STEPS terms and conditions

If you are hoping to apply for the STEPS programme, please download and read the full STEPS terms and conditions found in our handbook [PDF].


Spring STEPS

From time to time we make changes to the STEPS offer. In May 2020 we introduced a range of biodiversity options in a Spring edition of STEPS.

It’s been very successful so we’re running it again in 2021, for a limited period only.

Applications for Spring STEPS close on Sunday 18 April 2021.

How Spring STEPS could help you

The Spring STEPS grant scheme is aimed at improving and enhancing biodiversity across your farm business, and is sister to our main STEPS scheme.

We’ve awarded over 200 grants, and have enabled projects ranging from winter bird feeding, cover crops and woodland creation.

Those projects have delivered over 1500Ha of new, or enhanced habitat and 20,000 trees.

Eligibility for Spring STEPS

To be eligible for support from Spring STEPS, you must farm or have land in a priority catchment in the Severn Trent region.

Biodiversity options can only be applied for if farms were successful in their application for a water quality option in any previous round.

Farms are making a new application for both biodiversity and water quality at the same time are also eligible.

For biodiversity there is no limit to funding, each application is scored and assessed.

Applications close on Sunday 18 April 2021.

Tell us about your idea

If you’ve got a great idea then get in touch with our team, who can give you support and guidance to help you apply and get started. 

We’ll match-fund up to £5,000 per application. For larger projects, and where possible, we’ll consider spreading the funding across two application years.

How to apply for STEPS and Spring STEPS

The grant scheme is a competitive process and all our applications are assessed and reviewed based on each farm’s individual circumstances and the options you choose to apply for.

We advise you to read the relevant handbook before you apply. This will improve the chances of you making a successful application.

Working with your local Agricultural Advisor will also help improve the likelihood of your application being successful, as a collaborative approach provides the opportunity to get your application right first time and to meet mutually beneficial outcomes.


When you'll hear about your application

If you've applied for funding from STEPS, we'll let you know if you've been successful within 5 weeks of the application date.

Work must be completed within 12 months of issuing an agreement to you.

If you've applied for funding from Spring STEPS, we'll let you know if you've been successful within 6 weeks of the closing date of Sunday 18 April.

Work must be completed by Tuesday 1 March 2022.


Pesticide Amnesty

Occasionally we facilitate the opportunity for farmers in Severn Trent priority catchments the opportunity to sign up to dispose of unwanted pesticides through our free, COVID-secure pesticide amnesty scheme.

Dry weather advice for livestock farms and farmers in our region

May 2020 saw extended dry spells, with swathes of the UK basking in the hottest days of the year to date. 

We have some important advice about planning ahead and what to do in the event of an emergency.