New Countryside Stewardship offers open for applications

The 2018 Countryside Stewardship application window has now opened for agreements to start on 1 January 2019.

A range of modifications have been made to the scheme this year in a bid to encourage more farmers and land managers to apply.

Mid Tier has been enhanced to include eight options which were previously only available through Higher Tier. These options include:

  • BE4 Management of traditional orchards
  • BE7 Supplement for restorative pruning of fruit trees
  • GS6 Management of species-rich grassland
  • GS9 Management of wet grassland for breeding waders
  • GS10 Management of wet grassland for wintering waders and wildfowl
  • SP9 Threatened species supplement (only for corn bunting and brown hair streak butterfly)
  • WD4 Management of wood pasture and parkland
  • WT3 Management of ditches of high environmental value

There are strict eligibility criteria for these options and applicants will need Natural England approval before including them in their applications. Specific requirements for each option are included in the Mid Tier manual.

Another modification is the addition of four new offers: ArableLowland GrazingUpland and Mixed Farming. These schemes are non-competitive and all farmers who meet the eligibility requirements can get an agreement to deliver as few as three options, up to as many as 14, depending on the offer applied for. Applications for the Arable offer can be made online from 20 February.