ARCHIVE: England Rural Development Programme

The Energy Crops Scheme (ECS)


Energy crops have the potential to make a significant contribution to Government targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for renewable energy generation. They contribute to sustainable development, rural job creation and are a new commercial opportunity for farmers.

The new Energy Crops Scheme provides establishment grants for two energy crops, short-rotation coppice (SRC) and miscanthus (elephant grass), and aid for the establishment of producer groups for SRC. We expect 20-25,000 hectares of energy crops to be planted during the life-time of the Programme.

To be eligible, farmers must apply to grow at least 3 hectares of energy crops and have an agreement to supply the harvested crop to an energy producer located within a reasonable radius of the growing land. The crops can be grown for power generation, combined heat and power or heat-only uses.

The ECS is run by MAFF in partnership with the Forestry Commission. Under the scheme, farmers receive:

  • 1,600 per hectare for SRC established on ex-livestock land where the farmer loses livestock premium payments
  • 1,000 per hectare for SRC established on other eligible land
  • 920 per hectare for establishing miscanthus
  • Up to 50% of set up costs for SRC growers forming producer groups.

The scheme is administered from the MAFF Office in Crewe.

Applications are subject to environmental checks to ensure the environmental impact of growing the crops is minimised.

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