The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a new, simplified Countryside Stewardship Scheme that aims to help more farmers and land managers protect wildlife and enhance the environment. The programme consists of four simpler, quicker to apply for offers:
- Lowland grazing
- Mixed farming
that will complement the current Higher Tier and Mid-Tier offers. Each offer has a set of options, requirements, payment rates and specific wildlife benefits.
The scheme is non-competitive and will give annual payments for 5 years. All landowners who make a valid application for any of the four new packages will be guaranteed funding though the scheme and more farmers and land managers – including those new to Countryside Stewardship or those coming out of previous agreements – will be able to apply.
Farmers and land managers have until 31 May 2018 to request a paper application pack; those intending to apply online this year will be able to create an Online Arable Offer application pack from 20 February.
The deadline for all applications is 31 July 2018.