Gloucestershire farmers receive £680,000 in funding from Severn Trent to help boost river health 

27th June 2024

Farmers in Gloucestershire have secured more than £680,000 in funding from Severn Trent for on-farm improvements that help improve drinking water quality and river health across the region.

Over the last four years, the water company has worked with around 350 farmers across its priority catchments – awarding 1084 grants through the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS).

The programme provides funding for infrastructure and land management improvements that help stop pesticides, nitrates and cryptosporidium from reaching watercourses.

So far, in Gloucestershire these grants have funded 28 pesticide washdown areas - as well as 12 cover crop applications and three applications for new fencing.

A further 39 farmers in the region signed up for Severn Trent’s Swap Your Nozzle scheme, which sees farmers get free low drift nozzles that help reduce the amount of pesticides used on farm.

The scheme has also created or enhanced 92.147 hectares of farm biodiversity in Gloucestershire.

“Our STEPS scheme is all about working with farmers to positively impact the quality of drinking water in the region and the health of our rivers,” said Dr Adam Freer, senior catchment scientist at Severn Trent.

“We are delighted that so many farmers across Gloucestershire have fully embraced the scheme and made the most of this funding to not only help protect watercourses and the local environment, but also help with their farm businesses.”

This year, STEPS celebrates its tenth anniversary and over the past decade the water company has worked with more than 5,000 farmers across its region, funding more than 2,300 grant applications from farmers and landowners.

Dr Freer added: “The continued success of STEPS over the past ten years highlights farmers’ commitment to sustainable farming and environmental protection.

“When STEPS began, we identified 21 catchment areas to work with, but as the scheme has evolved, we’ve been able to more than double this and we’re now working with 55 catchments across the Midlands.”