Countryside Stewardship

With income from environmental schemes set to become increasingly important for farmers over the next seven years as the Basic Payment Scheme is phased out, Carver Knowles can advise on all aspects of Countryside Stewardship including:

  • On farm advice – what options would work for you
  • The Countryside Stewardship application process
  • Mid-tier and Wildlife Offer agreements
  • Water capital agreements
  • Hedgerow and Boundary grants
  • Annual revenue claims
  • Claims for capital works

Countryside Stewardship provides financial rewards for farmers for adopting certain land management practices or undertaking certain investments in farm infrastructure in order to benefit the natural environment be it for biodiversity gain, the provision of habitats or improvements to water quality.

There are five different types of schemes offering payments for implementing options such as permanent grassland with very low inputs (£95/ha), winter bird food (£640/ha) and buffer strips on cultivated land (£353/ha) to name just a few. In fact, Countryside Stewardship offers 144 different revenue and capital options to choose from which provides ample opportunity for all farmers to secure some form of environmental scheme income.

Why is now a good time to apply?  

Payments made under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will be reducing each year from 2021 through to 2027 when payments will be completely phased out. This is likely to leave many with a ‘funding gap’ which Countryside Stewardship income can help to fill.

There are indications that the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), set to be launched no earlier than late 2024, will not be a BPS replacement, rather it will offer funding at a lower amount to what is currently being received through BPS. For many farmers, now is the time to be gearing up their farm holdings to adapt to a more environmentally focussed future. By entering a Countryside Stewardship agreement now you are not only starting that process of adapting but securing a new income stream. In addition,Natural England have confirmed that if you apply for CSS from this year onwards you can switch to ELMS with no penalty if ELMS is more financially attractive than the current Countryside Stewardship (CSS).

What scheme could I enter?

There are five different forms of Countryside Stewardship. Which is most appropriate to apply for depends on farm type and eligibility. For further information relating to each type of scheme click below: