WT1: Buffering in-field ponds and ditches in improved grassland

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the buffering in-field ponds and ditches in improved grassland option.

How much will be paid

£201 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Only on improved grassland next to ponds.

Where this option cannot be used

  • on historic or archaeological features
  • around ponds associated with industrial features such as effluent ponds, balancing ponds or small water supply reservoirs

How this option will benefit the environment

It protects ponds from nutrient leaching and runoff. This will maintain and enhance water quality and wildlife. If successful there will be:

  • a grassy strip with a mix of grasses, flowering plants, scrub and trees
  • a decrease in the amount of sediment and nutrient entering the pond


  • leave a 10m to 20m wide buffer strip next to the pond
  • let tussocky grass and low scrub develop
  • only cut to control the spread of woody growth

Do not:

  • let scrub develop on more than half of the pond or ditch margin - the southern side of the pond must remain open
  • let livestock poach more than a third of the pond margin
  • use pesticides, except herbicides to weed wiper or spot treat for the control of injurious weeds, invasive non-native species, nettles or bracken
  • apply any fertilisers or manures
  • cut between 1 March and 31 August

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
  • evidence that the grassland is improved

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

You should also be aware that at the start of each claim year, a percentage of agreement holders will be asked to take and submit the following photographic records:

  • photographs of the strips

These options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:

Further information

See the Mid Tier manual or Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.
  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.
  3. First published.