Rural Round-up (Summer 2019)

Swale Borough Council produces the Rural Round-up on a quarterly basis for rural businesses with the latest news, events and opportunities.  If you have a story that you would like to be considered for inclusion in the next issue, please email edu@swale.gov.uk.  To receive this newsletter by email, please email the same address and ask to register for the rural round-up.

Get involved in the Kent Year of Green Action

The Kent Year of Green Action (YoGA) is well under way, encouraging people to connect with nature and take positive action to improve our environment. The Kent YoGA is mirroring the national campaign and is supporting the ambition of the Kent Environment Strategy by inspiring everyone, of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in projects that support nature; at home, school, work or as consumers.

Participating in Kent YoGA can be as simple as volunteering for a local litter pick or beach clean and walking short journeys instead of using the car – it is also enjoying spending more time outside and visiting the wonderful greenspaces that Kent has to offer!

Check out the events page to see a range of activities and suggestions for Kent YoGA.

You can get involved by adding an event or activity to our page and promoting the campaign on websites, your newsletters and mentioning it at meetings. For further information email KES@kent.gov.uk and tell us what you’re up to on twitter at @KES_KENT.


Emergency Services Update

Kent Fire and Rescue

Kent Fire and Rescue has been working with the National Farmers Union (NFU) following a field fire on a farm last summer. A coupling adapter has been made that allows fire crews to draw water from farm bulk water tanks. These adapters will now be varied on Kent Fire & Rescue pumping and fire appliances, and it is hoped this will be rolled out to the Fire Brigade nationally.

Kent Fire and Rescue is urging farm owners to provide them with details of their water supply which can be used in the event of a field fire. Farm owners are urged to log onto the free Country Eye App: take a photo of the source of their water, select Kent Fire & Rescue from the drop down box and use the free text box to provide information on the type of EWS, capacity if known, location, distance in which a fire engine can get on stable ground, and any other information such as gate codes, and the type of fitting.

The Country Eye App is an information reporting app for people living and working in rural Kent. Users can record incidents and provide information to the authorities using the mobile’s camera and location settings.

For further information, or if you do not have access to the App, please contact water.services@kent.fire-uk.org or call the Kent Fire Brigade on 01622 692 121 ext 2391.

Baled Waste Crime

The Environment Agency has warned landowners to keep an eye out for baled waste crime. The waste often contains mixed municipal waste and is sometimes called Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). Organised gangs have been targeting empty land or offering landowners money to store the waste, which they do not then return to collect. In addition the waste can contain materials which contaminate the land and are costly to remove.

You can report this type of the crime to the Environment Agency by calling their 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 807060 or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. If criminals are in the process of dumping this type of waste, call 999 but do not approach as they may be dangerous.


Kent County Council Updates

Kent and Medway Business Fund

The Kent and Medway Business Fund is once again open for pre-applications. The fund offers 0% loans between £50,000 and £500,000 to small and medium sized businesses in Kent and Medway.

The loans can be used to develop new or expand existing products, services or processes, where they lead to new jobs, deliver business growth and improve productivity.

Apply for a loan from the Kent and Medway Business Fund

Kent Nature Partnership Biodiversity Strategy 2019 to 2044 Consultation

The Kent Biodiversity Strategy sets out the contribution the county of Kent, and the Kent Nature Partnership, can make to the Government’s ambition to leave our environment in a better state than we found it and the aspirations set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan “A Green Future”. The Partnership would like to hear your feedback on the proposed Strategy to ensure that it is not only suitably ambitious but also achievable. The closing date for comments is the 1 September 2019.

Read and respond to the Biodiversity strategy 2019-2044 consultation.

Energy and Low Emissions Strategy Consultation

The Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy describes how Kent and Medway Councils and their partners will reduce emissions, tackle poor air quality and ensure that county benefits from a competitive, innovative and resilient low carbon economy. KCC is inviting you to provide feedback on the draft strategy and evidence base before the 23 September 2019.

Read the draft Energy and Low Emissions Strategy strategy and respond to the consultation


Swale Borough Council updates

Councillors vote to declare climate change emergency

Swale Borough Councillors voted on Wednesday 26 June to declare a climate and ecological emergency in Swale. The vote commits the Council to making its own operations carbon neutral by 2025 and working with businesses, residents and organisations so that the whole borough hits this ambitious target by 2030. It also commits the council to becoming plastic free by 2021, and making sure improving energy efficiency and creating space for nature are key priorities in all its strategies and plans.

Read the full agreed motion in the minutes of the meeting

Environment Grants

Swale Borough Council has allocated £5,000 in grant funding to support community projects and organisations help achieve the environmental objectives set out in Swale Borough Council’s Realising our ambitions for Swale – Environment and Liveability. The maximum grant for any one project is £1,000.

The fund is open from Monday 3 June 2019 to Friday 28 February 2020 and aims to support local, small scale community projects centred around improving Swale’s cultural offer, maximising the opportunities available to residents and visitors.

Find out more and download the Environment Grant’s application form

Sign up for the Visitor Economy Newsletter

The Culture & Place team at Swale Borough Council has launched a newsletter for the visitor economy sector.

Each month, the team will keep you up to date with the latest Swale tourism news, training, research and opportunities for businesses in this sector. If you would like to sign up for the newsletter, please email tourismsupport@swale.gov.uk.

Visit Swale Advice Hub

Swale Borough Council is committed to developing and supporting the visitor economy and, through working with the local industry, has produced a toolkit as an aid for those involved in bringing visitors to the area.

The toolkit is available in a new section of the Swale Means Business website called the Visit Swale Advice Hub. The toolkit provides advice about using the local shared story to enhance your business; marketing advice; an image and video library; and the latest research.

The tools aim to help you enhance your business and share what is so special about Swale with your customers. We will continue to add new support content, so make sure to come back and check the website for the latest updates.

Register and access the Visit Swale Advice Hub


Business readiness tool: Brexit advice

The UK Government has launched a business readiness website, which includes a tool to enable you to learn about how leaving the EU may affect your business and what you can do to get ready.

Visit the business readiness tool website


Renew your trickle irrigation licence

The Environment Agency has reminded businesses that they need to submit their trickle irrigation licence renewal as soon as possible before the deadline of 31 December 2019.

Based on an assessment of the area of crops grown using trickle irrigation, the Environment Agency fear that many growers (or their landlords) have not applied for a licence. They have also urged companies to apply as soon as possible, as due to the volume they may not be able to provide feedback to people if their application arrives in the final three months of the year. Companies will not be able to take advantage of the transition arrangements if they miss the deadline.

Find out more about licences for water management


New Guides from Hedgehog Street

Hedgehog Street, a campaign aimed at inspiring the British public to help hedgehogs, has launched two free guides for housing developers and contractors, providing advice on how to help these animals on a development site:


The future of ECAs

The government has announced that it is closing the enhanced capital allowances (ECAs) scheme and re-investing the funds into the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

The new fund is expected to launch in April 2020 with £315 million available over five years to 2024. The fund will aim to help those businesses with the highest energy use to cut their bills and emissions through increased energy efficiency; and help them to transition to a low carbon future through the use of lower carbon energy and processes.


Funding announced to improve waste management

DEFRA has announced a new £18 million fund to support resource efficiency projects which aim to divert, reduce and better manage waste.

The support will be provided through a range of mechanisms including grant and expert support in the area of food and non-household municipal waste. The current schemes which are open include:

Food waste prevention (closes 1 July) small and large grants. The funding aims to help provide infrastructure which moves waste food to those most in need. The scheme is aimed at not for profit/non-commercial activity.

The Plastics Packaging & Textiles Recycling Grant (closes 2 August 2019). The funding is for new capital infrastructure projects which help or enable the recycling of usually difficult plastic packaging and textile materials, and is aimed at economic/commercial activity.

Find out more by visiting the Waste and Resources Action Programme website


Elmley Nature Reserve event launches restored Kingshill Farmhouse

Representatives from Swale Borough Council, Visit Kent and other local organisations visited Elmley in June to celebrate the launch of the new Kingshill Farmhouse.

The beautiful 18th Century farmhouse has opened following a loving and extensive restoration, which provides the experience of a luxurious private home. The accommodation will be available for whole house rental: family get-togethers, weddings, celebrations, and company retreats. Individual rooms will be available to book from Autumn 2019.

Find out more about Elmley Nature Reserve


Oak Processionary Moth

DEFRA has urged the horticulture industry to be vigilant for signs of the Oak Processionary Moth caterpillars, which were found recently on trees imported from the Netherlands.

If you think you may have an Oak Processionary Moth or it’s caterpillars, you should not try to destroy or move infected material yourself as it can be harmful to human health to do so.

Sightings should be reported online through the Tree Alert Online Portal.

Access guidance on identifying the Oak Processionary Moth.

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