A NEW £74 million package of grants to help farms minimise their environmental impact represented a wise use of public money, said MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

Ministers have unveiled a second round of slurry infrastructure grants as part of a wider package of measures designed to reduce pollution in Britain’s waterways.

Cattle and pig farmers will be able to claim from £25,000 to £250,000 to upgrade storage facilities, enabling them to make better use of organic fertiliser while protecting the environment.

The programme should also help to cut input costs for thousands of producers by reducing their reliance on artificial fertilisers.

The announcement of the new grant package came days after the Government announced another £110 million for nutrient mitigation schemes, also designed to improve water quality.

MP Ian Liddell-Grainger at an NFU event in Westminster for Back British Farming Day.
MP Ian Liddell-Grainger at an NFU event in Westminster for Back British Farming Day. ( )

Mr Liddell-Grainger, who represents West Somerset and will be the Conservative candidate at the coming General Election for the new Tiverton and Minehead constituency taking in parishes in the Culm Valley and around Wellington, said both measures were badly needed.

He said: “Unfortunately, water quality in the majority of rivers and streams is far below what it should be and I am glad the Government is making a determined effort to improve it on two fronts.

“The figures show that effluent from inadequate sewage treatment works is still the major cause of pollution, but farming also, unfortunately, still makes a significant contribution.

“So, while water companies are investing in upgrading waste water treatment it makes complete sense to address the issue of farm pollution at the same time.

“No farmer willingly pollutes the environment but while many livestock farmers have been under huge financial pressure to intensify production the meagre returns they are still receiving from the market leave them struggling to find the necessary investment to reduce their environmental footprint.

“I am delighted that not only has the Government recognised this and accepted the wisdom of diverting public money to achieve improvements but it has listened to the feedback from farmers who applied for grants in the first round and has simplified the application process.

“This is an excellent initiative which is going to deliver real and measurable benefits for farmers and the environment alike.”