Farmers and landowners urged to prepare plans to gain new European funding

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The Country Land and Business Association is encouraging people looking to either start or expand a rural business to ensure they are in pole position for new European funding by creating project plans as soon as possible.

Local Action Groups (LAGs) are currently in the bidding process for the next round of LEADER grants for 2015–2020 financed by the European Union (EU) and administered by the Rural Development Programme for England.

The priority areas set by the EU include farm diversification, increasing farm and forestry productivity, provision of rural services, and heritage work. Within these parameters, the LAGs will then set the objectives for the local area as part of a Local Development Strategy.

CLA East Regional Surveyor Claire Wright said: “Defra is keen LAGs successfully awarded funding should hit the ground running with some projects ready to go ahead.

“CLA East and programme leaders are therefore encouraging potential applicants to send a completed project proposal to their LAG for consideration as soon as possible. This will mean that your business idea will be in a good position should your local group secure funds for the 2015­–2020 programme.

“Previous projects have been very varied, but have included conversions of redundant farm buildings, tourist accommodation provision, support for food and drink businesses, water efficiency schemes, and work relating to timber harvesting.

“Those interested in finding out more should visit the dedicated LEADER section on CLA East’s online pages, which include an explanation of how LEADER funding works, contact details for the region’s LAGs, a project proposal template, and the latest news regarding funding from individual groups.

“The Regional Office is also providing members with further information or advice on how LEADER grant funding could benefit your business. For more information visit