YORKSHIRE'S farmers and landowners are being reminded that there is £3 million in grants available in the county to support schemes which improve the rural environment - but they should get their application in immediately.
The fund to back the Countryside Stewardship scheme has been boosted by 25 per cent for 2003 - but applications must be in by April 30. And as applications can take up to three months to prepare, the time to apply is now.
By the end of 2002 almost 2,000 landowners and farmers in Yorkshire will have won Countryside Stewardship agreements and be receiving annual payments of more that £7 million - the largest single source of environmental funding in the region.
Says Dorothy Fairburn, Yorkshire director of the Country Land and Business Association: "This is one of the best opportunities going, offering options at all levels ranging from renovation of traditional buildings to whole farms.
"But applications can sometimes take up to three months to prepare so there is no time to be lost. It is vital to reduce the chances of rejection by ensuring your application meets the target area statement included in the application pack. Help is available from DEFRA's stewardship advisers or partners such as FWAG."
For application packs and details contact 0113 2303 900 or 01609 767400.