The 2018 round of Countryside Stewardship applications window is now open.

Applications can now be developed for the Mid Tier of the agri-environment scheme in England. We need to have submitted the applications packs to Natural England by the deadline on 30 September 2017, however for those interest in the scheme we need to have ordered your application pack no later than 31 July 2017. This will allow Natural England time to send out the maps and evidence requirements, in time for us to work alongside farmers to develop a suitable application in time for the September deadline.

The Mid Tier scheme is the modern equivalent of the ELS (Entry Level Stewardship), it offers a five-year agreements for environmental improvements in the wider countryside, such as reducing diffuse water pollution or improving the environment for birds, pollinators and farm wildlife. The major difference between the schemes is the amount of related paperwork and photographs we have to submit along with the applications and subsequent annual claims, however after 2 years of the scheme now we are well used to the requirements of Natural England.  Good new for us all, in a statement, Natural England said: “Improvements have been made to the application process this year to make it easier to apply, including simplifying evidence requirements for claims and applications wherever possible.”

Unlike ELS, Countryside Stewardship is a competitive scheme. Applications are scored on their merit, then accepted / rejects depending on their environmental benefit. All of the applications we have developed on behalf of clients over the last 2 years have been successfully accepted into the scheme. If you are interest in the Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Rebecca Green BSc (Hons) FAAV

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