STEPS farm grant

Attention Midlands farmers! Once again funding applications have opened for Severn Trent’s Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS) but this year the maximum accessible funding has increased to £10,000 on standard items and £30,000 for priority items. Severn Trent’s grant is part of their commitment to improving water quality, soil biodiversity and sustainable use of vital resources. We also welcome back the recent addition to the grant, rainwater harvesting tanks and rainwater filters.

Severn Trent grant – what’s on offer?

Severn Trent is offering to match-fund projects totalling up to £10,000 per application (double last year’s £5,000 match funding). There is no lower limit for the grant. Applicants can pick projects from a pre-defined list of funding options. However, applications that address priority issues in your farm’s location will be more likely to receive funding.

What rainwater harvesting equipment does the STEPS grant cover?

  • Water tanks – the scheme pays a fixed grant amount of £60 per cubic meter (1,000 litres) of water storage space. Second-hand tanks aren’t accepted. Tuffa manufacture water tanks for rainwater harvesting in capacities up to 20,000 litres. Interlinking kits are available to achieve higher capacities.
  • Rainwater diverting and filter kits (fixed at £125 per unit). Tuffa supply a range of filter kits suitable for roof sizes up to 800m2 per filter.
  • Replacement of downpipes and gutters when used in conjunction with a rainwater harvesting system (fixed at £12m).
  • Concrete base (fixed at £20 per m2).
steps grant catchment area

STEPS grant application

Applications for the grant can be made through the application portal. It is strongly recommended that you read STEPS Biodiversity Handbook which includes information on the supporting evidence required and how your application is assessed. Additionally, you should contact your local agricultural advisor for more information about eligibility and the priority issues in your catchment area. Severn Trent advises working with an advisor as it helps you to complete a successful application by demonstrating clear water quality benefits and mutually beneficial outcomes.

STEPS application dates

  • The grant application window opens on 1st May 2022 and closes on 31st January 2023.
  • Severn Trent will endeavour to notify you if your application has been successful within 6 weeks.
  • Once you have signed your agreement with Severn Trent, you will have 12 months to complete the work and submit photographs and invoices. You will then be reimbursed for the agreed amount.

Eligibility for the Severn Trent’s Environmental Protection Scheme

To be eligible for the STEPS grant farmers must:

  1. farm or have land in a priority catchment in the Severn Trent Region – view the catchment area map.
  2. be actively farming that land.
  3. have a minimum of 3 hectares of land, and this can be owned or leased.

In addition, to purchase a rainwater harvesting system:

  • Rainwater systems can only be constructed on existing buildings unless the new roofing is over a sprayer washdown area.
  • The work should meet the relevant British Standards (all of our plastic tanks are CE marked and built according to British Standards).
  • Second-hand tanks are not eligible for funds – however, we do offer competitive manufacturer rates on all tanks and trade discounts for farmers and those within agricultural buying groups.
  • Must be sited on a concrete base suitable for the weight on the tank when full and in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • ‘Dated’ photographs of existing buildings and guttering may be required as part of your application.

Why use the STEPS grant for rainwater harvesting equipment

Above ground rainwater harvesting systems have been made available through the scheme for their distinct environmental benefits including reducing the quantity of water entering slurry stores, running across fouled yards, and entering the property’s dirty water tank. Harvesting rainwater during periods of intense rain also helps with water attenuation – reducing localised flooding by capturing water during heavy rainfall which can be released during dry periods when water is scarce.

rainwater harvesting tank
Two Tuffa 20,000 litre rainwater harvesting tanks at a farm in Suffolk

As well as benefiting the environment, rainwater harvesting is also valuable for farming businesses as it reduces reliance on mains water and increases your farm’s resilience to water shortages. The quality of rainwater, when compared to mains water, is better for many agricultural applications such as irrigation or water for livestock (subject to further treatment e.g. UV treatment). Research from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs shows that rainwater storage is becoming increasingly popular with 8% of farms in England now using rainwater as an alternative source of water. For more information about rainwater harvesting, including how to harvest rainwater and the quantity of water your roof size will collect, check out our Expert Guide to Rainwater Harvesting Tanks.

Tuffa are a tank manufacturer located in the heart of the Severn Trent catchment area in Uttoxeter. Our water tanks are manufactured with a high-shot weight of premium, UV-stabilised and corrosion-resistant polymer making them extremely durable. Our water tanks’ capacities range from 1,350 litres to 20,000 litres as a single unit with higher volumes achieved through interlinking. We work with national agricultural buying groups and offer trade discounts to those in the agricultural industry. View our range of rainwater harvesting tanks, contact us or enquire below for your prices.