08/05/2012 - Natural England Proposes New Paths for Communities Grants
Advance Notice of the proposed new Paths for Communities (P4C) scheme has been given. Full details will be reported once the scheme is formally launched and open to applications.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has asked Natural England to develop and run a new grant scheme called Paths for Communities (P4C). The aim of the scheme will be to:
- Encourage and enable local communities to work with land owners to develop and enhance local public paths in ways that deliver wider benefit.
- Offer a network with more appeal to visitors and tourists, contributing to the rural economy through better support for local services.
Natural England anticipates funding of £1 million in both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 financial years.
Specific funding levels to be awarded per project have yet to be confirmed. Grants will normally be limited to 75% of actual costs, with encouragement to seek match funding. However, the scheme may fund up to 100% of actual costs.
A range of practical solutions may be funded; such as:
- Surfacing (as this is a predominantly rural scheme the presumption is that hard surfacing will be minimal).
- Pedestrian and mobility access gates.
- Bridle and horse access gates (including those with hydraulic closing mechanisms).
- Kissing gates/field gates.
- Horse stiles and heavy-duty horse friendly vehicle barriers.
- Timber signposts and waymarkers.
- Development of Action Plans for more complex schemes.
- Expenses of staff consultants essential to the development of a project.
The scheme will be open to applications from partnerships between local community organisations and landowners/managers in England. Eligible businesses include shops, pubs, hotels, bed and breakfasts, equestrian suppliers and cycle companies.
No deadlines have been set at this stage. Further details will be reported once they become available.
Source: Natural England, 30/04/2012
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