The application window for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) is now open. Successful agreements applied for this year will start in January 2021. With the impending payment reductions and phasing out of BPS from 2021 onwards, entering into the CSS may be a good option to assist with getting ready for the new world of “Public Money for Public Goods” and to improve the farm and secure some income.
Under the CSS suite of schemes, the following options are available:
- Mid Tier – A choice of in field management options and capital works payments are available to suit individual farms and deliver environmental benefits. Water Capital options are available for those in target areas. Application Deadline – 31st July 2020
- Higher Tier – A more complex agreement targeted at more environmentally significant sites which requires support from Natural England. Application Deadline – 31st May 2020
- Wildlife Offers (Mid Tier) – A streamlined set of field management options depending on your farm type. There are no capital works options available. Application Deadline – 31st July 2020
- Hedgerow and Boundaries Grant – A capital grant for the restoration of existing hedges and boundary features only. Application Deadline – 1st May 2020
- Woodland Support – Support for woodland creation, management plans and tree health grants. Application Deadline – Various
The government has also confirmed that all CS agreements confirmed by the end of 2020 will have their funding agreed for the entire life of the agreement (5 years). Furthermore, anyone who enters a CS scheme now will be able to leave the scheme at agreed exit points in order to enter the new Environmental Land Management Scheme which is due to start in 2024.
Whilst the closing date for the Mid Tier and Wildlife Offer applications is 31st July 2020, there are some options that require endorsement from Natural England which will need to be in place before the application deadline. Therefore if you are interested in applying for the scheme it is important that you start the process now to make sure that you have got everything in place to submit with your application.
Carver Knowles have had an excellent record in securing practical and valuable CS agreements on behalf of clients including whole farm agreements and targeted high value Water Capital agreements. Therefore if you are considering entering the scheme please do get in touch to discuss the potential options available to you at your earliest convenience.