Revised Environmental Land Management

The environmental land management scheme for the 2014-2020 programme was intended to be more targeted and bring together a number of existing schemes into one scheme building on and enhancing the prior environmental stewardship and English Woodland grant scheme.

The scheme offers

  • a site-specific agreement similar to the former higher level stewardship scheme
  • area specific agreements aimed at targeted improvements in the wider countryside
  • multiannual agreements (normally five years longer may be entered
  • choice of management options capital items and advisory support annual small-scale grants for certain activities such as hedgerow laying Stonewall restoration

Biodiversity is the primary focus of the new environmental land management scheme. The measures in the program are the primary source of government funding to help secure delivery of environmental objectives on agricultural land including the England Biodiversity Strategy 2020 targets.

The Environmental Land Management scheme is intended to be more targeted and brings together a number of existing schemes into one scheme building on and enhancing the current environmental stewardship and English Woodland grant scheme

Countryside Stewardship Scheme 2014-2020

The Countryside stewardship provides financial incentives to farmers and land managers to look after the environment by

  • conserving and restoring wildlife habitats
  • flood risk management
  • woodland creation and management
  • reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture
  • keeping the character of the countryside
  • preserving historical features in the landscape
  • encouraging educational access

The scheme is open to all eligible farmers woodland owners and certain others,

There are four main elements of the scheme

  • mid-tier
  • wildlife offers
  • higher tier
  • capital grants

The mid-tier offers options supplements and capital items to achieve simple and effective environmental benefits.The wildlife offers comprises a number of options. The higher tier covers more environmentally significant sites

A Countryside stewardship agreement comprises terms and conditions agreements and supplementary documents. Countryside stewardship provides incentives for land managers to look after the environment. The  priorities include

  • flood management
  • historic environment
  • landscape character
  • educational access
  • conservation

Applicants select from a wide range of multi-year options and capital items which can be reviewed online. They complete the list of multi-year options and capital items according to their availability by scheme element, land use, and payment rate.

The scheme is competitive and applications are scored and ranked according to their score. The highest scoring applications are those where the selected multi-year options and capital items meet locally important priorities. After scoring, the successful applicants make an  offer which may be accepted and becomes the countryside stewardship agreement commencing the following year

Cross compliance rules apply to rural development programme land-based agreements. There are two parts to cross compliance

  • standards of good agricultural and environmental condition
  • statutory management requirements

BPS Greening rules

Farmers must comply with greening rules if they wish to receive the greening element of the BPS payment. The must calculate and make a return. Farmers with 10 or more hectares of arable land must follow the crop diversification and ecological focus area greening rules.

Farmers with less than 10 acres of arable land  meet these rules automatically. Some farmers are exempt from the requirement to grow two or three crops for the purpose of the rules.The crop diversification requirement does not apply where more than 75% of the eligible agricultural land is permanent grassland and in some cases temporary grassland.There are various other crop diversification exemptions in respect of fallow land temporary grassland used for leguminous crops.

• Farmers with 10 ha or more of arable land need to grow at least 2 or 3 different crops on it.
• 10 to 30 ha must have at least 2 different crops with the area of the largest crop being no more than 75% of the arable area.
• 30 ha plus must have at least 3 different crops with the area of the largest crop being no more than 75% of the arable area and the combined area of the two largest crops being no more than 95% of the arable land.
• Crop Diversification exemptions are available in 2018 and may include additional exemptions to those available in 2017.

Ecological Focus Area

Farmers with more than 15 ha of land must have an  Ecological focus areas on their land.Farmers with more than 15 ha of arable land must have EFA options that add up to at least 5% of the arable area on their farm. Some arable farmers are exempt.

The  following qualify as EFA

  • hedges or trees in a line
  • fallow land
  • nitrogen-fixing crops
  • cover crops
  • catch crops
  • buffer strips field margins

The EFA options available for 2018 are:

• Buffer strips and Field margins
• Catch Crops
• Cover Crops
• Nitrogen Fixing Crops
• Fallow land
• Hedges and Trees in a line

There are various exemptions from requirements for the EFA.


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