Guidance

How to apply for a Slurry Infrastructure grant

Updated 19 February 2024

Applies to England

The Slurry Infrastructure grant is competitive and you will not automatically get a grant.

The application is a 2-stage process.

Stage 1: check you’re eligible

The online checker closed at 11:59pm on 31 January 2023.

What information you need to provide

To check you are eligible, you will need to answer questions about your business comprising:

  • what type of farmer you are
  • the legal status of the business
  • whether the planned project is in England
  • whether work has been started
  • the ownership of the land or tenancy status
  • details about your current manure management system
  • existing and planned storage capacity
  • how you intend to increase storage capacity
  • confirmation that the store will have impermeable covers

The online checker will tell you if your project is not eligible and you are unable to continue with your application.

If your project is eligible, you will be asked about:

  • the type of store you want to build
  • the volume of storage you need to reach 6 months’ capacity in cubic meters (m3)
  • the type of cover you will have
  • how big the cover will be (in square metres (m2))
  • other items you need, including quantity and their sizes (for example the number of wall mixers and volume of reception pit)

The volume of storage you need to reach 6 months’ capacity will depend on the type of store you plan to build. If you are:

  • replacing stores that are no longer fit for purpose with a new store, give the total volume of the new 6 month store
  • adding a new store to increase existing capacity, give only the volume of the additional store
  • expanding an existing store, give the additional volume you plan to create (for example, the added capacity a new ring will provide)

You must only give the volume needed to reach 6 months’ capacity based on existing livestock numbers. This will be checked at full application.

You can find out more about how to plan your slurry storage.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will provide you with an estimated grant value. You will need to confirm that you will be able to pay the remaining costs of the project. You must be able to pay for all items up front before you claim your grant payment. You will also be asked to provide:

  • the OS grid reference of your slurry store (in the format of 2 letters and 8 numbers)
  • the status of your planning permission, including your planning reference number if you have one and the name of the planning authority

If you want to proceed, you can submit your project details and register your interest. You will be asked for your contact and business details.

You should only submit one online application for your project. If your business has multiple sites, you must submit one application for each site.

Information provided on the online checker will be shared with Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) advisers within Natural England. Read about how CSF will offer free advice to applicants in the ‘Advice from CSF’ section of this guidance .

If your online application is not successful your information will not be shared with the Environment Agency.

Find out if your farm is likely to be in a priority area for round 1

We expect demand to be high. For the first round of the scheme, RPA will give priority to applications that offer the most environmental benefit. If the scheme is oversubscribed, RPA will invite applications from projects in areas that need coordinated action to reduce air and water pollution from agriculture.

Once the online checker closes, RPA will look at how many projects can be funded. If needed, RPA will produce a shortlist of projects based on the priority areas, using the OS grid references submitted during the online application. You can find out more about how RPA identifies these and shortlists applicants.

All applicants will be told whether their project has been shortlisted or not for round 1. You should apply even if you are not in a priority area.

RPA will either invite you to submit a full application or inform you that you are not successful.

There will be other opportunities to apply if you are not selected first time.

Stage 2: make a full application

If you are invited to make a full application, you will need to check the location and design of your store before submitting final details about your project.

Check location and design

RPA will tell you what information you need to provide to check the location and design of your stores. RPA will share this information with the Environment Agency who will assess the details of the project to make sure that your:

You will need to provide:

  • size, location and type of new stores
  • size, location and condition of existing stores if it is a part of your 6 months’ storage capacity (including photographs)
  • a copy of your storage capacity calculation using the slurry wizard
  • rainfall records if not using slurry wizard rainfall data
  • scaled drawings and design specifications of the proposed structures
  • location maps of the proposed structures including any springs, wells or boreholes within your farm holding
  • maps of farmyard areas, including drainage
  • information on soil suitability if constructing or expanding an earth bank lagoon
  • written confirmation from the original manufacturer or a suitably qualified engineer that an existing store is suitable for expansion and covering if using this option
  • details of the secondary containment you will deploy if you intend to use a large volume supported slurry bag

RPA or the Environment Agency may discuss changes with you to make sure your final project protects the environment and meets regulations. This will prevent time or money being wasted later.

You must show your project achieves 6 months’ compliant storage. Otherwise, you will need to change your project design and resubmit this information.

Submit your full application

Once RPA has confirmed your project has passed the location and design check, you can complete and submit your full application. You must have planning permission in place before you submit your full application to RPA.

If you substantially change your project once you have passed the location and design check, your application may be rejected.

The deadline for submitting full applications is 11:59pm on Friday 28 June 2024. You must email your application and all supporting documents by this date. You do not need to wait for this date, you can submit your full application as soon as you have everything ready.

For the full application, you will need:

  • information about you, your business and project
  • a breakdown of your requested items
  • project milestones
  • evidence of how the project will be funded such as bank loans
  • a declaration that you will comply with monitoring requirements
  • a copy of the planning permission approval for your project
  • evidence of financial viability (for example last 3 years’ accounts)
  • details of your tenancy agreement if you rent or lease your land
  • confirmation from a suitably qualified engineer that any new store will meet the specifications, including current regulations and build standards, when complete
  • evidence of acidification if using this option
  • evidence of approved permit variation for pig farmers, where applicable

How RPA will check your full application

RPA will check your full application to make sure it still meets the requirements of the scheme.

You may have changed some project details since you completed the online checker, for example, changes to store design or amendments to the exact location. Any changes will need to be agreed by RPA. Any changes to the project which mean that it will no longer meet the scheme requirements will lead to your project being rejected by RPA.

Assess the applicant business’ financial viability

Your project will also be assessed to make sure that it is viable. RPA will assess:

  • the current financial viability of your business
  • how you will fund the project until you claim the grant

Assess how you will deliver the project

RPA will check:

  • how the project will be delivered within budget and on time
  • that risks to project delivery have been identified and how they will be mitigated

Advice from CSF

If you are invited to make a full application, your details will be passed to a CSF adviser, who will then contact you to offer advice as part of the scheme.

This advice is optional, and not a condition for securing the grant.

CSF works with farmers and partners in catchments across England to improve the quality of air, water and natural flood management.

CSF advises farmers on how to produce food in a way which protects water, air and soil, minimising losses and maximising efficiencies.

Your CSF adviser is locally based with an understanding of the challenges that farmers face. They offer locally informed on-farm slurry management advice to help you:

  • improve nutrient use
  • reduce environmental impacts
  • make more confident decisions about slurry management on your farm

CSF is led by Natural England in partnership with Defra and the Environment Agency.

If your project is eligible but you were not invited to submit a full application, a CSF adviser may contact you in advance of the next round of funding to provide slurry management advice.

Withdrawing an application

You can withdraw your application at any time, but you must let RPA know.

If you are offered a grant

RPA aims to give you a decision about your application as soon as possible after receiving a complete full application (within 60 working days).

If you are offered a grant, RPA will send you a grant funding agreement for you to sign and return. This will set out the legal terms and conditions of the grant, including:

  • the maximum amount of the grant you could claim
  • the outputs agreed for your project

Before the project start date in the funding agreement, you must not:

  • commit to any eligible costs as set out in the specifications (including paying deposits)
  • place an order
  • start construction work

Any costs incurred before that date are at your own risk and may make your whole project ineligible.

If you need to change anything in the grant funding agreement over the course of the project, you must get written agreement from RPA first. If you do not, RPA could end your agreement and reclaim any grant already paid.

You’ll get more information and help with this if you are offered a grant.

Your grant funding agreement lasts for 5 years from the payment of the final claim. During this time, you must:

  • maintain 6 months’ storage capacity
  • keep your slurry store covered
  • produce and use a nutrient management plan based on up-to-date soil sampling

If your application is unsuccessful

If your application is unsuccessful at any stage, we will write to you to tell you why. If you’re unhappy with the decision, please refer to the complaints procedure on GOV.UK.

How to claim your grant

You can make a maximum of 3 claims over the duration of the project. RPA will discuss the staging and timing of claims with you. Grants will be paid in arrears. Your final claim must be at least 25% of the total claim amount.

You can only make a claim for work which has been completed and paid for.

You should submit your claims as soon as possible after you have paid for, taken delivery and installed the item or works. You will need to provide invoices that show the quantality and cost of each eligible items you wish to make a claim for.

The amount of grant paid will be 50% of the invoice cost or the standard cost for that item, whichever is lower.

When you come to make your final claim, you will need to submit the Construction assurance declaration form. This is to confirm that the new or expanded store was built to the specifications, including current regulations and build standards. This should be signed by you and a suitably qualified civil or structural engineer who is a member of a chartered institute.

If you buy an item for the project using lease purchase or hire purchase, you need to own this outright before you can claim any grant money towards it. This means that, before you claim the grant, you need to:

  • pay all of the instalments
  • show that the title has passed to you

You will not be able to include these costs in your claim if you do not do this.

If you purchase any second-hand slurry store accessories, you need to provide confirmation from the supplier that it has a 5-year life and has not received previous grant funding.

Publicising successful grants

You need to follow any guidance from RPA about acknowledgement and publicity of the grant. This includes using templates or materials if provided.

Monitoring and evaluation

RPA wants to monitor how well the grant delivers against the scheme’s objectives. For the duration of your grant funding agreement RPA will ask you about:

  • how you use your nutrient management plan
  • changes in fertiliser usage
  • changes in farm productivity, such as income and profitability
  • changes in spreading practice