Countryside and rural grant schemes open for applications until 31 January

Applications for the Countryside Enhancement and Rural Initiative Schemes remain open until 31 January 2014.

The States-funded grant schemes aim to enhance Jersey’s environment and promote diversification and efficiency in the agricultural and fishing industries. Since their introduction in 2006, these schemes have supported a wide range of projects which have benefited Island wildlife, the environment and rural businesses.

The Economic Development and Department of the Environment’s Assistant Minister for Rural Economy, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said: 'These schemes are a key part of the Rural Economy Strategy 2011–2015 which demonstrates the States commitment to protecting and improving the Island’s countryside and to promoting and developing Jersey’s rural sector.'

The Countryside Enhancement Scheme is designed to enhance Jersey’s unique environmental features. It is open to applications from any individual or organisation, including schools, businesses and States Departments, wanting to develop and implement projects that will:

• Enhance, conserve and protect Jersey’s natural environment on a local scale. • Implement island-wide strategic environmental projects that either enhance biodiversity or make beneficial additions to the present island-wide access infrastructure. • Helps Jersey deliver against its commitments to international multilateral environment agreements and local environmental objectives.

Eligible projects include: • Hedgerow and woodland creation and maintenance • Pond and wetland creation and maintenance • Heathland creation and maintenance • Crops for the benefit of wildlife • Environmental improvements for the benefit wildlife and/or the landscape • Projects which support Biodiversity Action Plans • Restoration of historic features • Improvements to the farmed environment • Farm biodiversity audits • Interpretation and education materials

The Rural Initiative Scheme is designed to help rural and marine businesses diversify, improve efficiency and militate against climate change. It is open to applications for business development projects for all land and sea dependant activities which:

• Increase the penetration of niche markets and development of new value added processes and markets • Improve productivity and sales and reduce costs • Raise the share a business receives within the supply chain • Improve skilled employment opportunities, through job creation, education and training • Assist rural businesses to adapt and militate against climate change • Develop and implement new waste management procedures • Promote and develop new rural-tourism initiatives • Implement best practice operating procedures throughout the rural sector • Encourage island producers to evaluate export market potential.

Deputy Labey said: 'These schemes have played an important role in providing beneficial improvements for wildlife and the environment and in promoting diversification and efficiency in the agricultural and fishing industries by supporting a diverse range of projects, from woodland management to energy generation.'

Application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from http://www.gov.je/Benefits/Grants/Environmental/Pages/CountrysideRenewalFunding.aspx and http://www.gov.je/Benefits/Grants/IndustryGrants/Pages/RuralInitiativeScheme.aspx.

Anyone with questions about either scheme can contact the Rural Economy Section at Howard Davis Farm 441600 or ruraleconomy@gov.je.

The deadline for applications is Friday 31 January 2014.