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Environmental Stewardship

The last start date for Environmental Stewardship was 1st December 2013 due to CAP Reform.

Scheme Information

Environmental Stewardship was a stream of agri-environment schemes, which provided funding to farmers and other land managers in England who deliver effective environmental management on their land.

Its primary objectives were 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 which provided payments in return for undertaking a range of simple conservation options. Acceptance was guaranteed provided you could the scheme requirements.

The payment rates for ELS were £30/ha or £8/ha for parcels of moorland over 15 ha.

Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS)

OELS was 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 were £60/ha.

Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (UELS)

The UELS was 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 was 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) aimed to deliver significant environmental benefits in high priority situations and areas. The scheme was competitive and involved more complex environmental management. A strong application was essential to secure funding. 

HLS was usually combined with ELS options, but entry into the scheme was discretionary.

HLS agreements run for ten years, with payments twice yearly which relate to the options  chosen. HLS included payments for capital items such as hedgerow and wall restoration.

For advice on any existing schemes, please contact Andrew Hardcastle or Will Foyle at our Knaresborough office 01423 860322.