Upcoming Grant opportunities we can help you with
LEADER – Next round of funding opens 4th January. Outline applications to be submitted by 8th February.
STEPS ( Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme) – Application period opens 1st January and Closes 17th March.
You do the farming, we do the form-filling.
We understand how daunting it can be to keep the farm running whilst, keeping up to date with the never ending paperwork.
Our experienced and qualified team includes farming, planning and permitting specialists, and all our farming specialists are FACTS and BASIS qualified. We can offer you a full range of agricultural services (see below) to save time, ensure you are compliant, and enable you to consider new ways to develop your business.
Are you part of an assurance scheme but don’t have time to keep up with the admin?
Do you want to be able to market your products as sustainably farmed?
Many of our clients now have to submit to a farm assurance scheme as a requirement of their buyers. We will help you with the assurance process and inspection by explaining the standards in plain English, completing your assurance application and implementing effective record keeping protocol.
Several schemes, such as LEAF Marque and Tesco Nurture, require a carbon audit as part of the scheme. We are experts in carbon auditing and have been conducting carbon audits for our clients for the last 20 years.
Red Tractor is the UK’s leading farm assurance scheme and includes food safety and traceability, animal welfare and environmental protection. Alongside Red Tractor, the LEAF Marque is becoming more widely recognised and specifically recognises sustainably farmed products. LEAF uses Integrated Crop Management (ICM) principles in order to show sustainable production. All LEAF farms must also be Red Tractor assured to demonstrate the broader areas of food safety and animal welfare.
Are you up to date on the new greening rules for 2016?
What practical measures will you take to be compliant?
The 2015 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) has created more admin and demands on farmers’ time. Greening is a compulsory element of the BPS and you could lose up to 30% of your total payment if you don’t comply. If you have more than 15ha of arable land, then it is also likely that you are required to have Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) on this land. There have been some changes to greening and the EFAs for 2016; check the Farming Advisory Service update for details.
Our team has extensive experience of advising farmers in this area since the introduction of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in 2003, including expertise in transferring entitlements, cross border issues and a track record of solving RPA disputes.
We offer a complete BPS and greening service;
• Completion of Basic Payment Scheme forms
• Discussion of the greening elements, how they impact on any Stewardship agreement you may have or plan to have, and what they mean for your farm in practice
• Yearly completion of your greening calculations, ensuring that you are fully compliant
• Keeping you regularly updated and informed of any changes to the greening rules.
Do you need a carbon audit as part of your assurance scheme?
Wondering how you can make your operations more efficient and save money?
Do you want to show your customers that you are environmentally aware and responsible as a business?
Many environmental assurance schemes now require the production of an annual carbon/energy audit. In addition, other businesses are being asked to hit certain targets for carbon reduction and it is possible that the agricultural sector will be regulated in the same way at some point in the future.
We have been conducting carbon audits for many years now for a range of clients. We use the recognised CALM carbon auditing tool produced by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA). The calculator measures emissions from energy and fuel use, livestock, cultivation and change of land use, and fertiliser application. The emissions are then balanced against any carbon which is stored in soil and trees. You will receive a report explaining your carbon balance, detailing your carbon production and sequestration and suggesting mitigation measures to reduce emissions and in some cases, make cost savings.
Is your current Stewardship scheme about to expire?
Are you worried about the complexity of the new scheme?
Countryside Stewardship replaced Environmental Stewardship, the England Woodland Grant Scheme and Capital Grants from Catchment Sensitive Farming in 2015.
The scheme is open to all eligible farmers, woodland owners, foresters and other land managers, is competitive and is scored against local priority targets to maximise environmental benefit.
Countryside Stewardship includes three main elements; Mid Tier, Higher Tier and Capital grants. Examples of key activities involved in the scheme include:
• conserving and restoring wildlife habitats
• flood risk management
• woodland creation and management
• reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture
Capital grants can include the following;
• hedgerows and boundaries
• improving water quality
• woodland support
• planning (including feasibility studies and management and implementation plans) for more complex Higher Tier agreements
Currently, many farmers are coming up to expiry dates on their old schemes, and are debating whether or not to apply for the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme. We have over 25 years’ experience in applying; let us help you make an informed decision.
Would you be prepared if your RPA inspection was this week?
Not had enough time to complete your Cross Compliance records?
Are you confused about the rules?
Remember, you can be inspected at any time, with only 48 hours notice, and regardless of your farm size. The penalties can be between 3 and 20%, and in extreme cases, 100% of your Single Farm Payment. Click here to find out more about penalties.
Many Cross Compliance failures involve environmental issues and poor record keeping, and can be avoided. Click here to read the RPA’s most commonly reported Cross Compliance failures. Cross compliance is made up of Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs). The three main areas you will be inspected on are;
• Public, animal and plant health
• Environment, climate change and good agricultural condition of land
• Animal welfare
E4 environment offers a comprehensive and expert service on Cross Compliance, ranging from a desktop review to our complete package that covers all areas and allows you to get on with farming, leaving us to fill out the forms. We can support you to get through an RPA or an Environment Agency inspection and we know exactly what the inspectors will be looking for. Our complete package includes the following, or you can pick out certain services;
• Initial farm visit to discuss the regulations and how they apply to your farm
• Checking your GAEC & SMR compliance, including the most common areas for inspection failure
• Regular contact to offer advice and updates
• Setting up of clear and detailed recording systems, filed in paper and electronic format, so that you are always 100% ready for your inspection
• Completion of annual records required for NVZ compliance. This is also available as a separate service; click the NVZ tab for more information.
• Bi-annual farm visits to check compliance
• Attendance at your RPA inspection
Are you considering a project to increase the agricultural productivity of uncultivated or semi-natural land?
Looking to restructure a rural land holding?
You must first apply to Natural England for a screening decision, and they may subsequently decide that you need an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). We can guide you through this complex process and complete the EIA application for you. You must apply for screening initially or risk prosecution or a fine of up to £5,000. Your Basic Payment Scheme or Stewardship payments may also be affected. Click to read more about the EIA regulations.
Do You Need a Permit or Exemption?
You may need an environmental permit or exemption if your business manages or produces waste or emissions that may cause harm to the environment, such as water extraction or manure spreading. We have over 15 years’ experience of successfully applying for exemptions and permits, and have positive working relationships with the Environment Agency, ensuring that your application process is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
Are you considering diversifying or developing your farm business? Does this involve development that requires planning permission?
We understand what a complex process planning can be and have extensive experience of successfully supporting various projects through planning.
Click here to see some of the projects that we have worked on.
However large or small the project is, we can assist you in completing some or all of the following steps; initial consultation with your Local Planning Authority (LPA), public consultation, screening and EIA, the planning application and post planning queries from the LPA.
Please get in touch for a no obligation discussion about your project.
Do you farm within an NVZ?
Are your NVZ records up to date?
Have you completed a manure plan and a nutrient plan?
Many of our clients farm within an NVZ, meaning that records have to be kept meticulously. The Environment Agency are the body that enforces the NVZ rules, and they make risk-based assessments on which farms to visit. Further to EA visitation, if you farm within an NVZ, you must keep records up to date in order to comply with cross compliance rules and pass an RPA inspection.
It is often due to incomplete paperwork that farmers fail their inspections. Our experts are FACTS qualified and have access to unique in-house software to be able to complete your nutrient plan, manure plan and soil plan for you on a yearly basis.
Our full package, using our unique NVZ software, includes everything an inspector will be looking for. All you need to do is provide us with some figures and we will produce a written report for your farm including all the relevant calculations, N plan and N Max tables, individual field limits, and spreading risk maps you need.
Does your farm package its own products on site?
Do you handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging waste and have a turnover of more than £32million?
Or, are you beginning to grow your business and do you need to start thinking about what you need to put in place now in terms of packaging regulation?
If the answers are yes, you should be aware of the Producer Responsibility Packaging and Waste Regulations. As a heavily regulated area with hefty fines for non-compliance, we understand the importance of getting your data in on time. Click here to view a brief presentation on the packaging services we offer.
We have nearly 20 years’ experience of working in this area and with a wealth of successful projects behind us, we are perfectly placed to offer you a complete and professional service. And because we have both waste and agricultural experts working with us, we can offer a more tailored and understanding approach to your complete agricultural business.
Are you interested in renewable energy for your farm business?
Do you want to protect yourself in the future from rising energy prices?
We have worked on farm renewable energy projects throughout the country; have a look at some of our case studies. We have worked on solar, wind, biomass and Anaerobic Digestion.
We offer a comprehensive service, starting from an initial feasibility study/business plan that will give you all the financial, technical and legal information you need to assess whether it is the right choice for your farm. Conducting an initial feasibility study is a considerable outlay, and so we will help you take advantage of any grants available.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) currently offers grants of up to £10,000 to create a business plan to investigate the feasibility of Anaerobic Digestion. We have acted on behalf of several clients to access funding through this grant scheme, and are familiar with what WRAP expects of a successful application.
There may also be other cost savings to you, and we can offer advice on claiming Feed in Tariffs (FITs), or the possibility of accessing a grant. Click here for more information on renewables. After the feasibility stage, we can then guide you through the whole development process, including advice on installers, planning applications and environmental permits.
Non- domestic RHI Sustainability Criteria
The sustainability requirements in force from 5 October 2015, required that fuels and feedstocks used in solid biomass, solid biomass contained in waste, CHP and biogas installations as well as to produce bio methane for injection are sustainable
Here at E4environment, we can help manage your GHG emission calculations for your feedstock’s to help you meet the criteria.
Do you know about the new requirements for soil protection?
Are you in a priority area for Catchment Sensitive Farming?
Do you farm within an NVZ?
You no longer have to produce a Soil Protection Review, but you do have to abide by a set of national minimum standards for soil management under the 2015 cross compliance rules. Click here for our full cross compliance package. This includes protecting soil through minimum soil cover, taking measure to limit erosion and maintaining soil organic matter levels.
Our agricultural team can advise you on appropriate management and can conduct a pre-audit on farm to ensure that you are compliant with the rules. Our advice could help you to increase the long-term productivity of your farm. We will also advise you of any changes to the cross compliance rules and what this means for your farm management.
Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF)
If you have been targeted as a priority area by CSF we can work alongside you and your CSF Officer to ensure you get the most out of a Stewardship agreement, and remain compliant at the same time.
Farming in an NVZ?
If you farm within and NVZ, we offer a complete NVZ compliance package. Completing a manure management plan can also help to improve efficiency of manure use, cut fertiliser costs and reduce the risk of water pollution and the penalties associate with this.