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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-environment-grant-weg-handbooks-guidance-and-forms/guide-for-applicants-water-environment-grant
1. About the scheme
The Water Environment Grant (WEG) scheme provides funding to improve the water environment in rural England, which includes:
- rivers and their estuaries
- coastal waters
The scheme is open to eligible applicants from 20 March 2018 to 11 May 2018.
The WEG Team (‘the team’) will manage the scheme. The team comprises representatives of the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England (NE). The team decides which projects get a grant offer (called ‘an agreement’) based on the scheme’s rules and priorities. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will make payments to successful applicants.
Funding comes from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).
Project proposals must help to achieve one or both of the objectives of:
- the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) written in compliance with the Water Framework Directive (WFD) that protect inland surface waters, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater
- sites that are designated to protect their water habitat, referred to as ‘water- dependent designated sites’ in this guide
Use Appendix A: using geographic databases to find out more on:
- water bodies on the Catchment Data Explorer (CDE) database
- designated sites on the Magic map system
Project proposals must meet these criteria.
- Meet one or both of the scheme’s objectives (section 2: objectives).
- Benefit the rural environment.
- Carry out an eligible activity (section 7: what it can fund).
- Be eligible to apply (section 5: who can apply).
4. How it works
The team will only assess your application if your proposal meets the scheme’s criteria (section 3: criteria).
The scheme is competitive. The team will apply a score to eligible applications against how well your proposal meets the scheme’s priorities. The scheme will aim to achieve improvements:
- anywhere in England
- to all types of water-dependent habitats under all types of pressure
If you meet more of the scheme’s priorities (section 10: scheme priorities and scoring), you’ll score more points and strengthen your application. Only the highest scoring applications will be successful and get a grant offer. The team will try to balance improvement across habitats and geography.
5. Who can apply
You’re eligible to apply for a grant if you’re a:
- charity, including a not-for-profit organisation
- land manager (farmer, forester, tenant, landlord or licensor)
- public body (local authority, parish council, national park authority)
You must have the authority to carry out all activities in your proposal, so that you can deliver your project.
As a tenant of land under public body control, you must get a representative of the public body to countersign your application.
5.1 When you need written consent to apply
You must get consent for the entire period of the agreement and 5 years after if you’re awarded a grant. You must get written consent to apply from all relevant parties with shared control of the land if you don’t have full authority to carry out the activities in your proposal.
Partnerships, such as the Catchment Partnerships, can apply for a grant. All partners must sign the declaration form (section 7 of the application form). One person should act as the partnership representative. As the representative, you must register with the Rural Payments service (section 11.2: register with the Rural Payments service) and use your single business identifier number (SBI) and email address on the application form.
Licensors and charities
As a licensor you can apply for a grant, but it’s your responsibility to tell your licensee, and to make sure they don’t breach the terms of a WEG agreement. You should include details about the WEG in their licence agreement.
You must get written consent from all parties who manage the land included in your application.
If you’re a tenant, you must make sure:
- you’re not breaching your tenancy rules by applying
- you have your landlord’s permission to apply
- your tenure is secure for the entire period of a grant agreement, or you’ll need your landlord to countersign your application
A tenant of an ineligible body (section 6: who can’t apply) can apply for a grant, but your proposed activity must not be a condition of your tenancy agreement. You must have a tenancy agreement for the full term of your agreement. Ineligible bodies can’t countersign your application.
You must get written consent to allow access for works from the landowner, or legal controller of the land in the proposal. You must get consent for works and for 5 years from completion.
If you’re a landlord, you can apply for a grant, but you must:
- give your tenant a copy of the agreement
- make sure your tenant doesn’t breach the terms of the agreement
If you want to carry on with your tenant’s WEG agreement when their tenure ends, you must not belong to an ineligible body (section 6: who can’t apply).
5.2 Provide evidence
You must provide proof that you’re eligible to apply for a grant, such as:
- a charity registration number
- your organisation’s constitution or statement of terms
- you’re a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claimant
- your tenancy agreement
- business accounts showing agricultural trading
- public body terms of reference
The team will check all applications against an insolvency register. If your project is not financially viable, you may not get a grant.
6. Who can’t apply
The following bodies are not allowed to apply for a grant:
- the Ministry of Defence
- Historic England
- Forestry Commission
- non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), such as Natural England and the Environment Agency
See the summary table on eligibility for public bodies.
|Landowner||Eligible to apply||Comments|
|Government departments, executive agencies, NDPBs||Not eligible|
|Other public bodies (such as, local authorities, National Park Authorities, public corporations)||Eligible||Your application can’t include work that forms part of your obligations as a public body.|
|Parish councils||Eligible||Your application can’t include work that forms part of your obligations.|
|Tenants of eligible public bodies||Eligible||Your application can’t include activities included in your tenancy agreement. You must get a countersignature from a representative of the public body if you don’t have a secure tenure.|
|Tenants of ineligible public bodies||Eligible||Your application can’t include activities included in your tenancy agreement. You must have a secure tenure for the whole agreement period. Ineligible public bodies can’t countersign your application.|
7. What it can fund
The grant can pay for activities that meet the scheme’s objectives (section 2: objectives). These include:
- creation and restoration of water-dependent habitats, for example a watercourse, lake or wetland
- restoring ecosystems in water-dependent habitats
- removing barriers to fish movement
- construction of a fish pass, bypass channel, or fish easement to restore fish migration
- managing the source of water pollution, especially diffuse pollution in rural areas
- removing or reducing the presence of non-native species, where they’re a problem
- sustainable use of water resources
- support for activities or events that help change agricultural practices to improve the water environment
- carrying out feasibility studies for activities to tackle environmental problems in water-dependent habitats
- buying machinery or equipment to carry out any of the above activities for your project
7.1 Urban projects, coastal water bodies, or transitional waters
Your proposal may be in an urban area, but it must show how it benefits a rural area. For example, it could be an urban river restoration project that allows fish to migrate upstream to a rural area to spawn.
Your project proposal may be in either of the following, but it must show how it benefits a rural area:
- a coastal water body (coastal waters with a seaward boundary that’s 1 nautical mile out to sea)
- transitional water body (surface water at a river mouth that’s freshwater mixed with saline water)
Use the MAGIC map to find out if your project area is in an urban or rural area. See Appendix A: using geographic databases to help you.
7.2 Project management overheads
Up to 15% of the grant can pay towards:
- project manager salary costs
- rent or hire of site offices and compound, including utilities such as gas, water and electricity
- communication and postage costs
7.3 Employees of the project
You must justify the cost of all eligible employees working on a WEG project. You must provide copies of:
- employees’ payslips showing their salary before deductions
- your bank statement showing payment of salaries each month
- a breakdown of any payment, including the amount paid to the individual(s) shown on the payslip (from a third party system where possible)
- timesheets showing time spent on the project (for part time employees only)
- National Insurance, tax and pension contributions
If it’s not clear from the documents how much time an employee has spent on the project, you must explain it separately.
7.4 Project costs
Scheme costs will be paid net of Value Added Tax (VAT). If you’re not VAT- registered, you may be able to reclaim VAT subject to provision of evidence of non-VAT registration.
8. What it can’t fund
You can’t carry out any activity that will give you commercial gain or profit. There are certain costs that the grant won’t pay for.
8.1 Statutory activities
You can’t get funding for activities that you must lawfully carry out or that are a statutory duty. This includes:
- conditions of any planning permission
- duties towards designated sites (includes public bodies which have a statutory obligation under Section 28G of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to help achieve the conservation and enhancement of a SSSI)
- any other form of legally binding obligation
- farming rules for water in force from April 2018
- applying for permits or consents
8.2 Other funding (including Countryside Stewardship (CS))
You can’t apply for a grant if your project includes activities which are already being funded.
The scheme doesn’t intend to compete with other schemes, so you should apply for the most relevant RDPE scheme you’re eligible for.
Some CS activities are similar to this scheme, such as riverbank fencing or tree planting. If you’re not eligible for a CS grant, you may still be eligible for WEG. Funding for similar activities in WEG are paid at the same rate as CS.
8.3 Management costs
You can’t get funding for:
- day-to-day running costs
- legal and other professional charges
- routine accommodation or related costs
- financial management
- human resources (redundancy, unless it’s a fixed term contract on the project, or pensions)
- company business
- gifts or entertaining
8.4 Research and training
You can’t get funding for:
- scientific research
- attendee allowance at demonstration or knowledge events
- non-project related training
- subscription costs
8.5 Fines and charges
You can’t include:
- interest or other finance charges
- costs resulting from the deferral of payments to creditors
- recoverable VAT and other tax (except PAYE)
- statutory fines and penalties
- criminal fines and damages
- service charges on finance leases
- hire purchase and credit costs
8.6 Other costs
You can’t include costs for:
- purchase of land
- asset depreciation
9. WEG principles
Funding is divided between projects that meet either of the scheme’s objectives (section 2: objectives). The projects which score most (section 10: scheme priorities and scoring) will get funding. The team will try to balance out improvement across habitats and geography so that there’s no bias to funding.
You can apply if your project lasts longer than a year, but it must start by March 2019 and end by March 2021. There are no plans for future application windows.
There’s no minimum value for a grant. You can apply for a maximum grant of £2 million for your project.
Your application can be ambitious and innovative, but it must:
- meet the scheme’s criteria (section 3: criteria)
- show it offers excellent value for taxpayers’ money
The team will assess projects based on expected outputs and costs.
A grant will cover up to 100% of the eligible costs (section 7: what it can fund) of a discrete project which delivers specific improvement to the water environment.
9.1 Other funding sources
You can’t use other sources of RDPE funding to pay for the same activity in a WEG project (known as ‘double funding’).
You can use other funding for complementary work in the same water catchment. You’re more likely to get a grant if you can show how your project will complement wider environmental investment in the same catchment.
Your application may be successful, but you will not get the full amount you ask for if:
- you include ineligible costs or activities (section 8: what it can’t fund) in your application
- you include elements that could be funded under another RDPE scheme at a lower rate, such as CS
- costs don’t represent good value for money
- state aid rules apply
If you get a reduced grant, you may use another source of relevant funding to supplement costs.
9.2 Dual use of the project land
In some limited cases, you can apply for a grant on land that’s used to claim BPS or CS by someone else at the same time. This is known as ‘dual use’. It’s allowed if:
- you’re eligible to apply (section 5: who can apply) and have management control of the land
- a BPS or CS claimant can show they have the same land ‘at their disposal’ under the BPS or CS rules (and meet BPS or CS eligibility rules)
For example, a landlord may have management control of the land for WEG purposes, whilst their tenant has the same land at their disposal to claim BPS.
A person may have an agreement with another party who will use the land to apply for payment. This does not mean that a person has the land at their disposal. It is the rights and responsibilities held in relation to the land, and how they operate in practice, which determine this.
If you’re applying for a WEG on the same land that another farmer or land manager is using to claim BPS or CS, you must have a written record which shows the respective rights and responsibilities of both of you.
This written record should set out:
- how you have management control for a WEG
- how the other party meets the BPS or CS rules, including having the land ‘at their disposal’
You must state you’ve given a copy of the WEG terms and conditions to the other party and that they will meet them (unless you can show that you are carrying out the required activities).
This written record could be a tenancy agreement, a letter or both containing the required information. Both parties must sign and date the record in advance of BPS or CS application deadlines.
The team or an RPA inspector may ask to see a copy of this. You may want to get independent professional advice relating to your circumstances, especially if you’ve only had a verbal agreement with the other party.
9.3 Rural Development Programme and State Aid funding
WEG payments under the RDPE are made in accordance with Rural Development Regulations and State Aid notifications SA41673 and SA41676.
This allows for up to:
- 100% grant funding where there’s a non-productive investment on an agricultural holding that’s linked to the achievement of agri-environment climate objectives
- 80% grant funding is allowed where the investment is off an agricultural holding
- 100% grant funding can still be allowed where an applicant can demonstrate that the project investment will generate no, or limited income, or for any other reason the activity is deemed not to meet state aid criteria
See Defra’s document: ‘Impact of EU State Aid rules on the 2014-20 Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)’ for more details.
Contact the team by email WEG@naturalengland.org.uk if you need more information.
9.4 Financial health and viability checks
The team will carry out checks to make sure you’re able to undertake the financial commitment of the project.
Applications including more than £50,000 of capital items
You must submit a statement from a chartered accountant confirming that the business or SBI has the resources from trading profits, reserves or loans to undertake the works according to the proposed agreement schedule.
Applications including more than £500,000 of capital items
In addition to the above requirement, the team will review 3 years of relevant business accounts or other checks to confirm that you have the administrative, financial and operational capacity to fulfil the agreement requirements.
9.5 Consents and permissions
Your grant agreement does not replace the need for consents or permissions you may need for your project. It’s your responsibility to apply, maintain and comply with any consents or permissions you need.
You should, where possible, have all necessary permissions or consents in place before you submit your application. You’ll not get paid for works before you can show evidence that all permissions or consents are in place.
9.6 Woodland consent
You may need consent from the Forestry Commission (FC) if your project proposes to:
- remove more than 1 hectare of woodland, or any woodland in sensitive areas, or national parks and AONBs (see ‘Environmental impact assessments (EIA) for deforestation’ for more details)
- create more than 2 hectares of woodland, or any woodland in SSSIs and scheduled monuments (see ‘EIA for afforestation’ for more details)
- fell more than 5 cubic metres of timber within a 3 month period that’s not covered by planning permission (see ‘Felling licences for more details)
- create woodland in a special area of conservation (SAC), or in an area which may affect a SAC (requires a Habitats Assessment)
You should contact the FC for advice with your application if your project:
- plans to create forest roads and quarries
- includes any of the activities that require consent in the bulleted list
All woodland creation must comply with the UK Forestry Standard for sustainable forest management. The FC uses this standard to assess any requests for consent.
You should have a woodland management plan (WMP) for works within an existing woodland. See ‘Creating a woodland management plan’ for more information.
9.7 Environmental permits and licences
Your project may need an environmental permit or a licence, such as:
- an abstraction licence from the EA to take water from one source and move it to another
- environmental permits and flood risk activity permits from the EA
- flood defence and drainage consents from the local flood authority
- a protected species licence from Natural England if your activity affects them
- consent for works on a SSSI
- landowner consent (for the duration of the project and for requirements after work has been completed) - this includes projects on common land
You must contact the WEG team by email email@example.com about your plans on land under an existing scheme, such as CS or BPS, or a SSSI designation to get consent. Other agreement holders may be in breach of their agreement if your project damages land in their agreement.
9.8 Planning permission
Your project may need planning permission. Your local planning authority can give you informal advice. You should include evidence of awarded permissions or pre-application discussions with your application form. You must comply with:
- updated Building Regulations 2010
- Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- English law and local byelaws
10. Scheme priorities and scoring
To be competitive and score more highly, your application should describe:
- what you plan to do
- what you expect to achieve
- how you plan to meet the scheme’s priorities
You should include supporting information with your application form to justify how your project will support the priorities.
Your application is scored against the scheme’s criteria (section 3: criteria). You’ll need to reach a minimum score, which the team will set once they’ve received and assessed all applications.
The scheme aims to deliver a balanced programme of improvements across England. The team will try to balance improvement across all habitats and geography.
10.1 Improve protected sites and areas
You must explain how your project proposal:
- addresses a condition threat
- progresses a remedy
- supports the objectives of a designated site or protected area plan
Eligible protected sites are water-dependent designated sites and WFD protected areas and include:
- special areas of conservation
- special protection areas (SPA)
- Ramsar sites
- marine conservation zones (MCZ)
- sites of special scientific interest (SSSI)
- bathing waters and shellfish waters
- drinking water protected areas
See Appendix A: using geographic databases for more information on these protected sites and areas.
A project can score against one of the following 4 categories:
|Complete delivery of an SAC, SPA or Ramsar condition threat action, or remedy on a relevant SSSI unit||24|
|Complete delivery of SSSI or MCZ condition threat action, or remedy on a relevant SSSI unit, or complete delivery of WFD protected area action or remedy||20|
|Partial delivery of SAC, SPA, Ramsar condition threat action or remedy||18|
|Partial delivery of SSSI or MCZ condition threat action or remedy, or partial delivery of WFD protected area action or remedy||15|
|Project covers large area or wide scope||optional extra 6|
10.2 Meet the WFD objectives
You must show how your project proposal will help to meet the objectives of WFD and improve a waterbody. You should say:
- which failing WFD water body or water bodies the project will improve
- which failing WFD element(s) the project will improve
- if there’ll be a change in WFD status for the element(s) the project will improve
The team will assess WFD improvements against ‘Reasons for Not Achieving Good Status’ (RNAG) or ‘Reasons for Deterioration’ (RFD). See Appendix A: using geographic databases for more information on water body and element status, RNAG and RFD. A project can score against one of the following 4 categories:
|Reversal of water body deterioration which has deteriorated from Good Status (based on either 1st or 2nd Cycle RBMP classifications)||24|
|Reversal of water body deterioration which has deteriorated from Moderate or Poor (based on either 1st or 2nd Cycle RBMP classifications), or failing water body meets its 2027 status objective as per the 2nd Cycle RBMP (ie: water body to Good Status)||20|
|A failing element meets its 2027 status objective as per the RBMP||18|
|Supporting improvements within water body or element status||15|
|Project covers large area or wide scope||optional extra 6|
10.3 Supports a catchment approach
You should show how your project contributes to a formal management plan, such as a:
- catchment partnership catchment plan
- peatland restoration plan
- non-native invasive species initiative
- river, lake or wetland restoration strategy
- nature improvement area plan
- diffuse water pollution plan
- nutrient management plan
- water level management plan
- shoreline management plan
- woodland management plan
You’ll score 8 points if your project supports any of these plans.
Contact the WEG Team firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
10.4 Provide wider benefits
You can strengthen your application if your project provides wider benefits to the environment and local community, by:
- creating a new habitat
- putting natural flood risk management measures in place
- managing non-native invasive species
- supporting water-dependent priority species or habitats
- improving recreational opportunities or public access to the environment
- increasing education and involvement with the natural environment
- improving the evidence on environmental pressures
You should include supporting evidence of these benefits with your application. A project can score against one of the following 4 categories:
|Project delivers 5 or more benefits||16|
|Project delivers 4 benefits||12|
|Project delivers 3 benefits||8|
|Project delivers 2 benefits||4|
10.5 If your project’s ready to start
You should describe:
- how ready you are to start work
- what permissions, consents, designs, and other plans or agreements you have in place
- what permissions you’ll need before your project can begin
You should include evidence with your application of:
- permissions or consents in place
- pre-application discussions
- agreed designs
- a list of contractors
A project can score against one of the following 3 categories:
|Fully developed: your project has all permissions and consents in place, confirmed landowner permissions, detailed design complete, a preferred contractor identified and ready to start||15|
|Outline development: your project is completing a feasibility study and/or outline design, permissions and consents scoped out, in principle landowner approvals, contractor expressions of interest||10|
|Partial development: concept developed and agreed with stakeholders and project lead, permissions and consents scoped out and landowners approached||5|
10.6 Restore an ecosystem
You’ll score points if your project demonstrates that it restores ecosystem functions to provide these long-term and sustainable benefits:
- species composition
- habitat quantity and quality
- hydrological processes
- water quality
- erosion and sediment processes
A project can score against one of the following 4 categories:
|Significant improvements to all ecosystem functions||12|
|Significant improvements to 4 ecosystem functions||9|
|Significant improvements to 3 ecosystem functions||6|
|Significant improvements to 2 ecosystem functions||3|
10.7 Support from others
You’ll score points if your project has written support from other organisations which says:
- they’re happy for the project to go ahead
- why they’re supporting it
A project can score against one of the following 3 categories:
|Support from formal Catchment Partnership, Nature Improvement Area Partnership, Non-Native Invasive Species Partnership, Peatland Partnership, or Local Nature Partnership||9|
|Support from 3 or more organisations (not listed above)||6|
|Support from 2 organisations (not listed above)||3|
10.8 Links to other improvements
Your project can complement existing investments to improve the water environment. You should describe how your project links to separate but related investment in the environment. A project can score against one of the following 3 categories:
|Funding to other investment has a ratio above 1:2||10|
|Funding to other investment has a ratio from 1:0.5 to 1:2||6|
|Funding to other investment has a ratio from 1:0.1 to 1:0.5||3|
10.9 Show value for money
You must include accurate project costs in your application. You must show that costs are reasonable by including evidence. This should include:
- 3 like-for-like quotations for the costs for each project activity
- comparisons of costs of similar works
- your procurement agreement
You must show your procurement process of labour and materials:
- is open and transparent
- demonstrates value for money
- awards the most economical bid
- is competitive and went out to tender
- is within the scope of your procurement agreement
If you don’t choose the lowest quote, the team will normally only approve payment to the value of the lowest priced quote.
In limited circumstances the team may offer a grant for a higher quote. You must provide justification for why the lowest quote was not selected. The following reasons are not justified:
- location of the supplier
- service or maintenance of equipment the contractor could provide in the future
You’ll not score points from this priority, but the team will decide if your project shows good value for money, and may offer you a grant. They’ll use the evidence you provide to make a decision. You could get a reduced grant if the team decides your project doesn’t show good value for money.
11. Before you apply
It’s important to fill in your application accurately and include supporting documents. The details you provide will form part of your grant agreement if you’re successful. If you don’t do this, the team:
- can’t score it
- may reject it
Use the following guidance to help you prepare your application.
11.1 Consult the team
You can email WEG@naturalengland.org.uk if you:
- don’t know your local contact
- need to consult with either Natural England or the Environment Agency
You’ll be put in touch with the most relevant person to discuss your application.
11.2 Register with the Rural Payments service
If you’re not registered, you must register with the RPA’s Rural Payments service to get a single business identifier (SBI) number. You must have this number to apply for a grant.
You must use the same email address to register that you plan to use to apply for a grant.
11.3 Using an agent
You can apply for a grant by yourself or you can use an agent to act on your behalf. Your agent must register with the Rural Payments service if you choose this option. Read the section: ‘Give someone else permission to act on your behalf’ to check you’re using an agent authorised to act on your behalf.
11.4 Prepare supporting information and evidence
The team may reject your application if you don’t include this information:
- financial accounts from the most recent 3 years of trading or most recent tax return for new businesses
- 3 like-for-like quotes for each project activity, catalogue listings or reasonable evidence of project costs
- management or a statement of income and expenses from your accountant if you’re self employed or a new business
- written statement of your VAT status from an independent chartered accountant
- proof you’re eligible to apply
- written approval to apply (section 5.1: when you need written consent to apply)
The team may score you lower if you don’t provide evidence of how you meet the scheme’s priorities, such as:
- permissions you have in place, in principle agreements, or pre-application discussions
- agreed or outline designs
- contractor arrangements
- other related investment in the local environment
- wider benefits that your project will bring
You must supply copies (not originals) of all supporting information and evidence. The team can’t return these. You should write your name, SBI number and project name on each document.
12. How to apply
- explain what you propose to do
- describe what outputs you expect to achieve
- describe how your project meets the scheme’s priorities
- state when you’ll do things by (your project timetable and milestones plan)
- provide copies of all supporting information and evidence (section 11.4: prepare supporting information and evidence)
There’s an online form (section 12.1: online application form) for you to download. If you can’t do this, you can ask for a paper form. Follow the instructions below.
12.1 Online application form
Before you fill this application form in, you must download and save it to your computer.
You must save your changes as you fill the form in. If you don’t do this, you’re at risk of losing your changes to the form. We don’t recommend using a tablet or mobile device.
To complete your online application, you must:
- complete all the form’s fields unless they don’t apply to you
- include all supporting documents which apply to you – read ‘Appendix 1: Supporting documents checklist’ of the application form
- use ‘Appendix 2: further details’ of the application form if you need extra space to complete a question
12.2 Sign your declaration
If you’re using the online form, you must:
- print the declaration (section 7 of the application form)
- sign it in black ink - make sure you have all the signatures you need
- scan it
- email it with the rest of your application form and supporting documents to WEG@naturalengland.org.uk
If you’re unable to scan the signed declaration or supporting documents, you must post them to the WEG team address (section 13.2: send by post).
12.3 Paper application form
If you can’t download a form, you can ask for a paper form. Contact the team by email WEG@naturalengland.org.uk. They’ll send you an application form by post.
- use black ink
- cross through and initial any corrections
- not use correction fluid
- sign the declaration (section 7 of the application form) - make sure you have all the signatures you need and each signatory is authorised to sign
13. Submit your application
Your completed form and supporting documents must reach Natural England Operational Delivery (NE OD) (part of the WEG Team) before, or by 5pm on 11 May 2018. The team won’t consider late applications.
13.1 Send by email
- attach the application form as a PDF to your email
- attach all supporting documents to your email
- sign the declaration in pen, scan and attach it to your email
- use the same email address that you used to register with the RPA
- send your email to WEG@naturalengland.org.uk
If you’re unable to scan the declaration, it must be sent by post to the address below.
If an agent is acting on your behalf, they must follow the same instructions and make sure they copy you in on their email with your application.
13.2 Send by post
If you’re using a paper form, you must send your application and supporting documents by post to:
Water Environment Grant Scheme
Natural England Operational Delivery
13.3 What you’ll get back
You’ll get an automated email to the email address you provided to say your submission has been received. The team will contact you or your agent by email if there’s missing information. You’ll have 10 working days from the date of the email to send missing information, or your application will be rejected. Check your email regularly to make sure you don’t miss this deadline.
14. Successful applicants
The team will assess all applications and score them in order of how well each project meets the scheme’s priorities (section 10: scheme priorities and scoring). You’ll find out if you’re successful by email. The team aims to make grant offers to successful applicants as soon as possible after the deadline date.
14.1 What to do next
If you’re successful, you’ll be sent a grant agreement to consider. You’ll get:
- a grant offer letter
- your terms and conditions
- a reference to the WEG handbooks and guidance, which you must follow
- any relevant updates in relation to your application
You should read your grant agreement carefully. It sets out the terms and conditions of your grant offer and any specific conditions that apply, including:
- the start and end date of your agreement
- the amount of your grant
- your payment schedule
- expected outputs
- the evidence you must provide to justify payment claims, such as photos of work completed, timesheets, invoices or designs and reports
- what will happen if you don’t meet the terms and conditions of your grant
You, or an authorised person, must accept or reject the offer and sign the agreement in pen and return it to NE OD within 30 calendar days.
If your project changes or costs increase, you could have your grant offer withdrawn or reduced.
14.2 When you may get an update letter
In some cases, the team may ask for more information to make sure they’re confident that your project meets the information you gave in your application. You’ll get 60 days to provide more information.
If the extra information you’re asked to provide is acceptable, you’ll receive a grant offer. You’ll have 30 calendar days from the date on the grant letter to sign and return it.
If the team thinks your additional information doesn’t meet the scheme criteria, they can reject your application.
15. Appeal against a decision
The team may reject your application if it doesn’t meet the scheme’s criteria or rank highly enough against other applications. You’ll be told in writing if you’re unsuccessful.
You have the right to appeal. You must send your appeal in writing within 60 days of the decision letter. You should write to the WEG team email@example.com saying why you disagree with their decision. You must only use the following reasons:
- the decision was based on an error of fact
- the decision was wrong in law
- the delivery body made a procedural error
The team will make sure your case is properly investigated and follows the 4-stage appeals process. You can appeal against decisions taken at each of the stages to progress to the next stage.
15.1 First stage appeal
The team will check if:
- information is correct
- guidance has been followed
- no calculation errors have been made
First stage appeals will be dealt with within 20 working days of receipt.
15.2 Second stage appeal
Where Natural England has made a decision, a Team Leader from NE will examine the case and look in detail at the decision and how WEG rules have been applied.
Where the Environment Agency has made a decision, a Team Leader from the EA will examine the case and look in detail at the decision and how WEG rules have been applied.
15.3 Third stage appeal
Natural England or the Environment Agency will appoint a Senior Manager who has had no previous contact with the case to make an objective review of the NE or EA decision and how WEG rules have been applied.
15.4 Final stage appeal
The team will convene a hearing in front of an Independent Agricultural Appeals Panel, a panel of 3 independent agricultural professionals selected from the Public Appointments Register, and you have the opportunity to appear before the Panel. The Panel’s recommendation is passed to the appropriate Defra Minister, who’ll make the final decision.
16. Complaints about service
You can make a complaint if you’re unhappy with the level of service or the way you’ve been treated. You should use the appropriate organisation’s complaints procedure:
17. EU publicity rules
For all projects with grant funding, you must use the EU logo on:
- websites and other electronic communication, such as project blogs
- printed publications and leaflets
- materials for events, seminars and workshops
- media and public relations communication
For projects that get more than €50,000 (Euros) (or pound sterling (£) equivalent), you must put up an A3 poster or plaque at the project site.
For projects that get more than €500,000 (or £ equivalent), you must put up a permanent sign at the project site.
Information on posters, plaques or permanent signs must take up at least 25% of its area and must show:
- the name of the project
- funding is from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
- a short description of the activity supported by the project
- the EU funding logo
18. How we use your information
Your information is stored and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. This Act gives individuals the right to know what data the team holds, how the team uses it, with whom the team shares it, and how the team ensures that it is accurate.
The team will use the data for administering and assessing applications, agreements and claims under WEG. The team will circulate and discuss it, in confidence, with those persons or organisations that help us to assess and monitor applications, agreements and claims. Some information will be shared with other grant distribution bodies and government departments, to enable them to detect fraudulent applications, agreements and claims and to coordinate the processing of complementary applications, agreements and claims. To do this, the team may have to discuss applications, agreements and claims with third parties or disclose information about funding decisions.
The team is required to make certain information about WEG applications, agreements and claims publicly available to meet requirements set out in the European Regulations governing payment of these grants. The team will do this by publishing information proactively or on request.
Details disclosed may include, but are not limited to:
- project name
- applicant name
- postal town or parish
- the first part of the postcode
- the payments received
The team is also subject to transparency obligations under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Participation in WEG involves expenditure of public money and is therefore a matter of public interest. The team will respect personal privacy while complying with access to information requests to the extent necessary to enable the team to comply with its statutory obligations under this legislation. Information disclosed under these obligations includes:
- grid references or location of project activities
- the total area under agreement
- details of inspections by Defra or its agents
19. Source of WEG funding
WEG funding consists of funds made available from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which is governed by Regulations 1303/2013, 1305/2013, and 1306/2013, and the delegated and implementing acts made under them (including Regulations 807/2014, 808/2014, 809/2014 and 640/2014) and Regulation 2014/3263.
The RDPE contribution is made under Sub-Measure 7.6 of 2014-20 Rural Development Programme for England, providing “support for maintenance, restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage”. Accordingly the activity needs to fulfil the requirements of the 2014-20 RDPE, including section 220.127.116.11.4 and 18.104.22.168.5 of the Programme Document and the Regulations set out in the paragraph above.