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https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/02/09/opening-countryside-stewardship-for-2022-agreements/

Opening Countryside Stewardship for 2022 agreements

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Announcements, Environmental Land Management, Things we're doing

Today, our Countryside Stewardship scheme opened for 2022 agreements.

Countryside Stewardship offers financial incentives to farmers, woodland owners and land managers to take care of their environment.

This includes things like conserving and restoring wildlife habitats and managing flood risk. A longer list can be found on the official GOV.UK guidance page.

Countryside Stewardship has been around for quite some time. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA), responsible for administering CS, has worked with the industry to improve the process and offer online. We will blog about how the team did this in the coming weeks.

From today applicants will experience a simplified process and more options. In response to user’s feedback, a number of changes were made. These include:

  • new options to help improve air quality, water quality and reduce ammonia emissions
  • improving the capital grant offer, making 67 options available which can sit alongside a wildlife offer
  • creating new wood pasture options in the uplands, at payment rates suitable for upland application, providing a mosaic habitat of grassland, scrub and trees
  • making the capital offer available to Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement holders, where the options are compatible
  • improving woodland options, including bringing bracken control and stone wall options into woodland management and combining Woodland Creation and Woodland Maintenance grants
  • increasing the number of capital items that farmers can apply for using the Rural Payments service, covering water capital, hedgerows and boundaries and air quality
  • expanding eligibility criteria for the upland option UP2 (management of rough grazing for birds), enabling more land managers to access this option and further improve the upland offer.

Countryside Stewardship will eventually be replaced with the new Environmental Land Management scheme. By entering an agreement now, farmers will benefit from the new agricultural policy once it is fully rolled out in 2024.

We will provide a straightforward way for CS scheme agreement holders to transfer across to Environmental Land Management once it’s ready. We’ll publish more information about that later this year.

Farmers and land managers who are new to taking on environmental work or with expired or expiring Environmental Stewardship agreements can apply for mid-tier, higher-tier, capital grants and woodland support.

To find out more or to apply, visit GOV.UK. Information manuals can be downloaded online from GOV.UK, or you can request to receive an application pack in the post by contacting RPA.

If you apply, let us know how you found the experience in the comments.

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11 comments

  1. Comment by mrs jenny hart posted on

    I am undertaking a project for Cornwall Council which is to survey all the rights of way in our parish. I want this to be with the cooperation of landowners. What provision is there to support farmers in who have footpaths and bridleways over their land?

    Reply
    • Replies to mrs jenny hart>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi Jenny, thanks for visiting the blog and commenting.

      In the Agricultural Transition Plan you'll see that that through Environmental Land Management, government will incentivise farmers and other land managers to deliver public goods. Six public goods are listed. Public access is an important part of the last public good on that list: enhanced engagement with the environment.

      We are in the process of developing our approach to making payments under the Environmental Land Management scheme, working with landowners to identify how best to support the provision of environmental goods and to determine what approach to payments would be most appropriate. We will write more about our progress here on the blog.

      Here is a link to the Agricultural Transition Plan which contains more detail: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/954283/agricultural-transition-plan.pdf

      Reply
  2. Comment by Michael John Wilby posted on

    I would be very interested in how Landowners ( custodians of the Countryside?) seek to use the provisions outlined ,and in particular ,use the "loophole/s " which enable Shoots to still control birds of prey under licence ?

    Reply
  3. Comment by mrs jenny hart posted on

    thank you sarah, this will be a very positive message to give my local farmers in the interim between the old stewardship scheme, and the new elm policy. jenny hart

    Reply
  4. Comment by Michael John Wilby posted on

    Hi Sarah - Many thanks for your excllent response & very positive !

    Reply
  5. Comment by Andrew Fell posted on

    I can't find the hedgerow and boundary grant application for 2022 . Is it open yet?

    Reply
  6. Comment by Simon Bath posted on

    Just spoken Defra helpline 03000 200 301 and one of your male agents. About why there is no PDF manual of the Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship for 1st January 2022 schemes, as there was produced and excellent for the last years plan start date 1st Jan 2021 which can only be found online which is now historical.
    The Defra agent said you were getting several calls on this asking same question . He said the application information is all being done online and must refer to scheme data by each section on 2022 information online rather than a Pdf manual. He said by number of calls received they may need to rethink and produce an online pdf as well as for those applying by hand.
    Also i am often tasked on my farms in existing agreements on management of options, and refer to the excellent Pdf manual titled Mid Tier options, Supplements and Capital grants last revised January 2018 which physically shows how each code on mid tier is managed from site, sowing, seed mixes, management etc . Has this been updated and available as a PDF to download for 2021 ??

    Also will we see a PDF of the CSS Mid Tier for Jan 1st 2022 start date very soon as colleagues and me frustrated by lack of one to date??

    Reply
    • Replies to Simon Bath>

      Comment by Jess Everett posted on

      Hi Simon, thanks for raising this with us. I’m pleased to say that the communications team are working on the Mid Tier scheme rules PDF at the moment, which they hope to publish in the next couple of days. They’ll then look at creating other PDF versions of online products. Jess

      Reply
  7. Comment by Simon Bath posted on

    Thank You Jess. Sounds all positive and good news to hear PDF versions are being updated for the 1st Jan 2022 scheme . And also updated PDF of other online products which hopefully include even if no changes to management of, the Mid Tier Options, Supplements and Capital Grants PDF though I know the Capital Grants has now a separate scheme from Mid-tier. The Management of Mid-Tier options in the field is essential reference for Stewardship farmers as well as their agronomists/advisors like me to get the best out of the schemes, to benefit farms, nature and UK Gov. Same will go for 2024 launch of ELMS.
    So shall have a look this time next week when done, unless you can send a link in this reply box for me when done . Thanks again and awaiting in hope :0)

    Reply

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