Applications for the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme are now open.
The main priority for Countryside Stewardship is to protect and enhance the natural environment, in particular the diversity of wildlife (biodiversity) and water quality. Other outcomes include:
- flood management;
- the historic environment;
- landscape character;
- genetic conservation; and
- educational access.
The scheme is jointly run by Natural England, Forestry Commission England and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of Defra.
The Countryside Stewardship manual is only available online and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-stewardship-manual
The options and supplements and capital items guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countryside-stewardship-manual-print-version These documents explain the requirements for capital items and annual management options and supplements under the Countryside Stewardship scheme.
The application window is open from the 1st July to the 30th September. Applications are competitive and there is no guarantee your application will be successful. Natural England will notify those who have been successful in November. The Agreement will then commence on the 1st January 2016. If you miss the application window this year or you are unsuccessful you will have to wait until July 2016 to apply. Due to the move to annual start dates those Agreements will not start until January 2017.
If you are interested in Countryside Stewardship and would like to talk about it in more detail, or need help making an application, please contact Emily Ham.