Environmental Stewardship is a stream of agri-environment schemes, which provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England who deliver effective environmental management on their land.
Its primary objectives are to:
- Conserve wildlife (biodiversity)
- Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
- Protect the historic environment and natural resources
- Promote public access and understanding of the countryside
As well as secondary objectives of:
- Genetic conservation
- Flood management
Entry Level Stewardship (ELS)
The ELS is a five year, points-based scheme open to all farmers and landowners. It provides 6-monthly payments in return for undertaking a range of simple conservation options. It is often possible to access the scheme without making changes to existing farming or land management practices. Acceptance will be guaranteed provided you can meet the scheme requirements.
The existing payment rates for ELS are £30/ha and £8/ha for parcels of moorland over 15 ha.
Our team provides practical advice on which options will fit best with your business and give you enough points to enter the scheme. We can also complete all the paperwork and submit the application on your behalf.
Agreements under the ELS run for 5 years and therefore agreements entered into when the scheme first began in 2005 are becoming due for renewal. Since its introduction there have been changes to the scheme requirements and the options available and the renewal provides an opportunity to assess the feasibility and location of the options on your farm.
Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS)
OELS is a 'whole farm' scheme similar to ELS, open to farmers who manage all or part of their land organically and who are not receiving aid under the Organic Aid Scheme (OAS) or the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS). Payment rates are £60/ha plus grant funding is available through the OELS, which will help to ensure your business remains viable throughout the conversion process.
Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (UELS)
The Hill Farm Allowance payment system is to be replaced by the UELS in Spring 2010.
The UELS is designed to reward farmers and land managers in Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDA land), including dairy farmers, for providing environmental and landscape benefits through a series of specially designed upland options.
The scheme is a points based system combined with the ELS scheme requiring 62 points/ha for in-bye land or 23 points/ha for moorland over 15 ha, with corresponding payments of £62/ha and £23/ha.
Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)
Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in high priority situations and areas. The scheme is competitive and involves more complex environmental management. A strong application is essential to secure funding. Existing Countryside Stewardship Scheme agreements and Environmentally Sensitive Area agreements are likely to be entered into the HLS scheme upon termination.
HLS is usually combined with ELS options, but unlike ELS, entry into the scheme is discretionary. A wide range of management options are offered, which are targeted to support key features of the different areas of the English countryside.
HLS agreements run for ten years, with payments sent out every six months and relate to the options that have been chosen. HLS includes payments for capital items such as hedgerow and wall restoration.
Applications are assessed to see how they meet the environmental priorities identified in their local area which involves preparing a Farm Environmental Plan (FEP).