Countryside Stewardship Scheme
The Countryside Stewardship Scheme replaced Environmental Stewardship, the England Woodland Grant Scheme and Capital Grants from Catchment Sensitive Farming in 2015. The scheme is open to all eligible land managers, is competitive and is scored against local priority targets to maximise environmental benefit. Payment rates are now specific to the options concerned (e.g. £640 / ha for wild bird seed mix); there is no flat rate payment as was the case with ELS.
There are 4 main elements to the scheme: Higher Tier, Mid Tier and Capital Grants (which are competitive) and the Wildlife Offers. Further guidance can be located on the ‘Countryside Stewardship’ page at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/countryside-stewardship-get-paid-for-environmental-land-management
Our services include:
- Assessment of the costs/benefits and advice on practical management of the different schemes
- Advice on which management options will best suit your farm business
- Completing the application including the Farm Environment Record, Options Maps, Application Forms and if required, liaising with Natural England
- Advice on any implications with the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs)
We have a combined experience of successful Stewardship applications of 36 years. We can lead you through the targeting for your farm and help you to decide if the scheme is viable for your business. Contact us for up to date information on Countryside Stewardship in your area and to discuss your exact requirements’
Applicants will be able to apply for the scheme in three ways;
1. Higher Tier
Higher Tier agreements are for the most environmentally significant sites and woodlands. These sites will usually need complex management such as:
- habitat restoration and creation;
- woodland improvement;
- woodland creation and associated maintenance;
- measures for priority species, and vegetation mosaics; and
- measures for the historic environment.
Land managers will get one-to-one advice and support from Natural England or Forestry Commission advisers to help them to build their application for Higher Tier. Applicants can select from the full range of the 244 scheme options and capital grants available.
2. Mid Tier
The Mid Tier element offers options and capital items to achieve simple, but effective environmental benefit.Most expiring ELS agreements will be suitable for the Mid Tier.
Mid Tier aims to address environmental issues, such as:
- reducing diffuse water pollution from agriculture; and
- improving the farmed environment for farmland birds and pollinators.
Mid Tier will offer multi-year management options and capital items. Applicants can select from 133 management options and capital items. Mid Tier agreements must have a total value of at least £5,000 in options for 5 years.
3. Capital Grant
These can be standalone capital agreements or you can apply with Mid Tier or Higher Tier. These grants cover:
- Hedgerows and boundaries
- Woodland Management Plans
- Woodland Creation & Improvement
- Water Capital; e.g. bio-beds, covered slurry stores
Feasibility studies (from 2016)
4. Wildlife Offers
The Wildlife Offers have been designed to make it easier and simpler to apply for a Countryside Stewardship agreement. There are 4 Wildlife Offers:
- Arable Offer
- Lowland Grazing Offer
- Mixed Farming Offer
- Upland Offer
You can complete an application with as few as 3 options, one from each of the 3 categories; nectar and pollen (1% of land entered), winter food (2% of land entered) and habitats (at least one option). However, you can choose as many options from the specified lists as you like. The more you choose, the higher the total payment you will receive and the greater the benefits for wildlife. You will receive an annual payment for 5 years. The amount you receive depends on the options you choose.
Please contact us if you require further information or would like a quote for any of our services.
1 Drove Lane