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The funding window for Contaminated Land Capital Projects is now open, with council bids expected before government by August 12.

But, the budget has been cut from £17.5 million to £10 million and will be administered by the Environment Agency rather than the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as in the past.

The Environment Agency intends to allocate funds by the end of September.

Last year, the fund was under-subscribed with just £9.5 million of the £17.5 million total allocated.

Lisa Crews, policy officer at Environmental Protection UK, said: “The obvious challenge is to ensure this grant money is used as efficiently as possible.

“It is hoped that this system will provide a robust way of managing the de-ring-fencing of these grants by helping to limit the effect of any project under spend on the overall available funds.

“Local authorities are encouraged to bid, further under spend of this grant risks sending the message that it can withstand further cuts.”

The contaminated land capital projects programme was previously managed by DEFRA, with technical input from the Environment Agency.

£9.5 million was allocated under the scheme in 2009/10.

Some changes have been made to the application system. These include that funds will now be paid on completion of projects not up front mirroring the process by which other capital grant schemes are administered, including the flood defence grant scheme.

Otherwise the application system remains substantially the same.

Enquiries should be directed to conlandgrants@environment-agency.gov.uk

David Gibbs

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