Rural Development Programme – England (RDPE)

The Government‘s objectives for the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) are to:

  • improve the natural environment: this includes helping to ensure that by 2021 the natural environment is improved as set out in the Natural Environment White Paper (NEWP);
  • increase the productivity and efficiency of farming and forestry businesses, in order to improve their competitiveness and reduce the reliance of farmers and land managers on subsidies; and
  • promote strong rural economic growth.

Defra issued a consultation on the implementation of CAP reform in England on 31 October 2013 including an impact assessment. The consultation showed strong support for making the best use of CAP money for the benefit of the environment, farmers, taxpayers and rural businesses. In particular, there was a widespread desire among the public to use the draft Programme to deliver the environmental and public goods that direct payments cannot.

A particular focus was promoting strong rural economic growth and in Cheshire and Warrington this will be delivered via the Growth Programme that will deliver against the LEP’s investment strategies: Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and European Structural Investment Strategy (ESIF). These strategies were developed by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and an inclusive range of local partners.

Growth Programme

The European Growth Programme provides funding to help projects which create jobs and boost the economy in England. These grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local partners.

Cheshire has received an indicative allocation of £2.5m. The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership will promote strong rural economic growth through geographically targeted support for new and existing rural businesses engaged in eligible activities across a wide range of smart specialisation and rural sectors as set out in the ESIF:

Priority will be given to businesses engaged in:

  • Research and development in natural sciences, advanced materials and engineering,
  • Engineering and technical consultancy
  • Automotive Research and Engineering
  • Chemicals, energy and waste
  • Agri-tech and the food and drink sector

We may also support limited strategic infrastructure investment in Cheshire and Warrington in the final, hardest to reach rural areas that are still not benefiting from superfast Broadband where rural funds can work collaboratively and if other funds such as the European Regional Development Fund are unable to provide the required support.

We expect that calls for projects will be published from July 2015 and will be available via and also promoted via this website. In the interim please contact us if you have any future questions.


In addition to the Growth Programme, Cheshire has been successful in obtaining funding from Defra to establish 2 LEADER funding Programmes covering rural areas of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP area. The LEADER funding will be delivered via the Cheshire West and Warrington Local Action Group and the East Cheshire Local Action group. Further information on the LEADER programme and the availability of funding can be found here.

Countryside Productivity

Farmers, woodland owners and forestry contractors in Cheshire can apply for grants under the Countryside Productivity Scheme. The Countryside Productivity Scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Further information can be found here.

Download the Frequently Asked Questions here.