WT2: Buffering in-field ponds and ditches on arable land

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the buffering in-field ponds and ditches on arable land option.

How much will be paid

£563 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier and Higher Tier.

Only on arable land next to ponds, or on arable land adjacent to ditches under option WT3 Management of Ditches of High Environmental Value.

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

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

How this option will benefit the environment

It protects ponds and high environmental value ditches from nutrient leaching and runoff. This will maintain and enhance water quality and wildlife. If successful there will be a decrease in the amount of sediment and nutrient entering the pond or ditch.


If you’re selected for a site visit, we will check that delivery of the aims is being met and the prohibited activities have not been carried out. This will ensure the environmental benefits are being delivered.

Established in the first year, there will be a 10m – 20m wide grass strip surrounding a pond or adjacent to a ditch. This will be allowed to develop a mix of tussocky grasses, flowering plants and low scrub through natural regeneration.

Prohibited Activities

To achieve the aims and deliver the environmental benefits, do not carry out any of the following activities:

  • cut the strip, except to prevent scrub from developing on more than half of the pond or ditch margin
  • use pesticides, except for herbicides to weed-wipe 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

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you have not carried out any prohibited activities.

To assist you in achieving the aims and deliver the environmental benefits for this option we recommend that you use best practice.

We recommend that you:

  • only cut to control the spread of woody growth - the southern side of the pond or ditch will remain open and free of scrub.

Keeping Records

Where there is uncertainty about whether the aims of the options have been delivered, we will take into account any records or evidence you may have kept demonstrating delivery of the aims of the option. This will include any steps you’ve taken to follow the recommended management set out above. It’s your responsibility to keep such records if you want to rely on these to support your claim.

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
  • photographs of the strips

Additional Guidance and Advice

The following advice is helpful, but they are not requirements for this item.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

This option can form part of an IPM approach to prevent the establishment of pests, weeds and diseases. If successful, appropriate and within proximity of cropped areas, these may limit the need for the use of Plant Protection Products and enhance wildlife and biodiversity on your holding. Read information on IPM at AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) Integrated Pest Management and LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming).

Further information

Read more information about Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and Higher Tier to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 8 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. New payment rate from 1 January 2022.

  2. Additional guidance and advice section updated - this option can form part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to prevent the establishment of pests, weeds and diseases.

  3. 'Air quality' added to Land use.

  4. Option updated for agreements starting 1 January 2022

  5. From 1 January 2019, this option cannot be used on land already receiving funding for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) declared for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

  6. Updated for 2017 applications.

  7. Information updated for applications in 2016

  8. First published.