European policy consultants
Rural development and renewable energy

Round 2 of the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) has been closed.

The maximum grant per business in round 2 was £25,000 over the lifetime of FFIS, the minimum grant was £2,500. Only items listed in the Applicant Handbook are eligible for funding and grant rates vary between 15% and 50%.

There are 5 themes in FFIS:-
• Nutrient management;
• Energy efficiency;
• Water management;
• Animal health and welfare; and

Supporting documentation will be needed, to includes quotations for the work, a declaration form signed by all partners in the business (or by the company director and company secretary), copies of 2 years of full trading accounts, and other relevant documents such as animal health and welfare plan summary, energy bills or water bills.

This is to be achieved by supporting investment that meets one or more of the following objectives:

• Improve animal health and welfare
• Reduce energy usage
• Improve the management of manures/farm nutrients
• Improve water resource management
• Improve use of forestry resources
The opening date for applications for Round 2 is 22 May 2012.

The objective must be investment in technologies that recover or reduce energy consumption on the farm resulting in a reduction of farm energy bills and carbon dioxide emissions.
Eligible items must also be over and above standard farm practice, and go beyond any legislative requirements.

Bulk milk tank upgrades and dairy vacuum pumps will not normally be eligible.

The following items may be eligible:
Heat Recovery Systems
Ice builders
Gel Coolers
Heat exchangers in connection with cooling milk (this could include a plate cooler, but the coolant water must not run to waste and must be used within the business);
Heat pumps for heat recovery or for the capture and reuse of waste heat within the business (e.g. heat recovery in pig buildings from cooling slurry).
Heat exchangers in pig and poultry buildings
Electricity efficiency devices
Vacuum on demand systems for milking parlours including variable speed motors, including if necessary the replacement of the pump as part of the system.
Automatic variable speed controllers for water and vacuum pumps (ie. electronic devices which automatically vary the speed of the electric motors in response to the load).
Voltage optimisers including inverters or optimisers for grain drying.
Computer software for use on existing computers specifically aimed to assist energy efficiency (but not the purchase of the computer to run the programme).
Thermal screens for Glasshouses / poly tunnels

Note: ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) are not eligible under this scheme

Defra website currently states (21st January '13):
"We are very sorry that we have not yet been able to complete the appraisal of all the FFIS Round 2 projects. As you may know we received a very high number of applications under the 2nd round of FFIS. This, combined with other competing work pressures at this time from other schemes delivered by the RDT, has meant that not all the FFIS appraisals have been completed by the end of October 2012"