How does the auction work?
The auction allows farmers to bid for funding to construct and maintain one, or multiple, measures on their land.
To do this, the user can bid for an amount of funding for the bundle of measures they wish to implement. The tool will indicate whether their bid is 'selected', which means that it currently qualifies for funding. This, however, can change if other users submit lower bids (i.e. will implement measures for less money). If a user's bid changes from 'selected' to 'unselected', they will be notified via email, and they can then lower their bid if they wish to do so.
How will I know if my bid is successful?
When you place a bid, you will be able to see whether it's currently selected for funding. You will be emailed if you have been outbid and then have the option of re-entering a lower bid. Once the auction has closed, you will receive a further email confirming whether or not your bid was successful.
Can I change my bid once I've submitted it?
The only way in which you can change your bid once you've submitted it is to decrease your price. This is to ensure that the auction remains fair and competitive. If you've made a mistake with the non-monetary details of your bid, such as the location of your NFM measure, you will need to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What am I bidding for?
You are bidding for funding from the Somerset Rivers Authority and/or Bristol Water to construct or adopt one, or multiple, measures on your land.
For the capital items (Cross-Slope Hedge Planting, Cross-Slope Hedge Planting on Banks, Leaky Dams, Areas of Woodland Planting, Restoring Cross-Slope Hedges, New Grassed Shallow Ditches, Runoff Ponds, Filter Fencing and Watercourse Fencing) you will need to maintain the capital items for a minimum of five years after implementation, so you should account for this in your bid.
The land management options (Grassland Subsoiling, Grassland Slitting, Maize Management, and Buffers to Intercept Run-Off) should be maintained for either one or three growing seasons, as stipulated on the measure specifications.
After the auction closes, if your bid has been successful, you will be contacted by a FWAG SW Adviser to discuss how your chosen measures will work best on your land, and they may also make a follow-up site visit to ensure that the measure has been implemented correctly.
When and how will I be paid for implementing the measures?
After the follow-up site visit to verify that the measure has been implemented correctly, payment will be made via bank transfer by the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) or by Bristol Water by cheque.
One purpose of installing the measures is to help deliver the Land Management work stream of Somerset's 20 Year Flood Action Plan, as part of the partnership approach known as Hills to Levels. Funding for these flood mitigation measures comes from the 2021-2022 Somerset council tax and contributions from Somerset's Internal Drainage Boards.
The measures are designed to slow the flow of water, but in doing so they also help to reduce soil and nutrient losses from farmland to the rivers. This year, Bristol Water are contributing to the auction as part of their work with landowners in target areas which feed the Mendip reservoirs and in the Egford Borehole catchment. The aim is to reduce the amount of pollution to the rivers, making it easier to treat water for drinking and in doing so also benefitting the local environment and wildlife.
Why are the areas in red not eligible for bidding as part of the auction?
These are areas where funding through the auction is not available due to one of two reasons. The Internal Drainage Board (IDB) low-lying areas of Somerset are not included, as the aim of the online auction is to produce targeted measures in the upper and mid-catchments of Somerset rivers where there is likely to be more benefit in "slowing the flow". This includes most of the Somerset Levels and Moors, apart from the region around Westbury Sub-Mendip where funding from Bristol Water is available to farmers.
This year, the catchments of the River Tone and River Parrett are not included in the online auction, to avoid duplication with the Somerset Catchment Market auction, being run by Wessex Water’s EnTrade platform. This auction is offering funding for Cover Crops, Arable Reversion and Watercourse Fencing.