FWAG SouthWest has a wealth of experience in helping farmers successfully enter Stewardship Schemes. The 2015 Countryside Stewardship will be available at 3 levels:
Although the full details of the new scheme have not yet been released, we do know that entry will be at 3 levels:
1. Upper Tier (Replacing HLS)
This tier is similar to HLS, aimed at high priority sites, eg SSSIs, with revenue and capital payments available. Most farmers with an HLS agreement will be able to transfer when their existing agreement expires. There will also be scope for some new entrants. Entry will be by invitation only and although a Defra adviser will work alongside you, an online application is still required. Agreements will last for 5 years in most cases.
2. Mid Tier (Replacing ELS)
Entry is competitive and applications will be scored against a national set of targets. Both revenue and capital payments will be available, but a more limited range than the Upper Tier. The most successful applications will be from those:
- Choosing options from 'packages' relating to pollinators, farmland birds or farm wildlife.
- Are part of a group of neighbouring farmers putting forward linked applications.
There will be no face-to-face help provided by Defra and so getting good advice will be key to submitting a successful application, again agreements will last for 5 years.
3. Small Scale Capital Payments
These will be available annually for boundary restoration, woodland management and works relating to improving water quality.