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Following on from 23 June’s EU referendum, there has been much uncertainty as to Britain’s relationship with the EU going forward. One of the key concerns within the UK’s rural sector is the uncertainty over EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding for the environment received by many farmers and landowners in the UK in the lead up to leaving the EU.

On the 13 August Chancellor Philip Hammond made an announcement that aimed to clarify the government’s position and provide a level of certainty to individuals and businesses. The Chancellor said;

We recognise that many organisations across the UK which are in receipt of EU funding, or expect to start

receiving funding, want reassurance about the flow of funding they will receive.

This reassurance has come by way of a series of commitments laid out by the treasury. Key amongst these is the commitment that

projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed before the Autumn Statement (expected towards the end of November) will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

The government is very much aware of the many Countryside Stewardship applications in progress and the deadline for finalising applications is fast approaching.

We are in close contact with industry bodies such as the CLA and Confor and are seeking assurances from Defra that all applications associated with Countryside Stewardship are fully funded provided they meet the deadlines and satisfy the schemes criteria.

The future of Countryside Stewardship after the Autumn Statement is now unclear. CLA President, Ross Murray said:

There are of course many more decisions that now need to be made, not least a commitment that there will be a fully funded, world-leading domestic Food, Farming and Environment Policy in place ready to succeed the current system from 2021 onwards.

We will continue to keep you advised of what is an evolving situation and as soon as more information becomes available to us. In the meantime, we will continue to finalise your application working with both Natural England and the Forestry Commission.

For further information please contact the Forestry team on 01536 408840.

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