Sarah Dines MP visits Derbyshire farmers to see benefits of Severn Trent STEPS funding
23rd October 2023
Derbyshire Dales MP, Sarah Dines, has visited two farms in her constituency to see first-hand how they are benefitting from funding from Severn Trent to improve water quality across the wider catchment.
The MP visited two farms in her Derbyshire Dales constituency, Lane End Farm in Muggington and Holly House Farm in Shottle, both of which have received grants from Severn Trent’s STEPS fund.
A part of the wider Farming for Water programme, which offers a range of grants and schemes for different environmental measures, STEPS – or the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme – offers financial and technical support to famers and landowners to reduce water pollution and protect the environment while supporting farm productivity.
The match funding can be put towards a wide variety of infrastructure and land management projects to help to prevent pesticides, nitrates and cryptosporidium from reaching watercourses. Severn Trent also offers free of charge site visits from experts who can provide bespoke advice to landowners around water management.
Projects undertaken at Lane End farm include installation of a roof to cover a livestock handling area, improvements to pesticide sprayers including low drift reduction nozzles and construction of fencing to keep livestock away from watercourses.
At Holly House Farm, herbal leys have been incorporated into a field to improve soil health, make it more drought resistant, and reduce the need for herbicides and fertilisers, which boosts biodiversity, provides food and habitats for pollinators and other invertebrates which in turn feed farmland birds and other wildlife.
Sarah Dines MP, said: “Protecting our natural environment is absolutely vital so being able to see the positive measures that farmers such as these are taking to support the health of Derbyshire’s local rivers is really important.
“It’s fantastic to see how positive and proactive the farmers have been in engaging with the STEPS scheme and getting such a broad range of projects in place.”
The visit was hosted by Margaret Baile, Severn Trent’s senior agricultural advisor.
Margaret said: “It was great to be able to take Sarah to these farms and demonstrate some of the fantastic ways that farmers are being supported through STEPS. Both farms have applied the funding they’ve received in very different ways which helps to show the diversity of the support that STEPS grants can offer in helping to support river health across our catchments.
“It’s wonderful that we're continuing to see a really high level of interest and engagement from farmers across our region who are engaging with us through the STEPS programme.”
For more information on the support available through STEPS, visit www.stwater.co.uk and search for STEPS.