SP4: Control of invasive plant species supplement

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the control of invasive plant species supplement.

How much will be paid

£324 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this supplement

Available for Higher Tier

Whole and part-parcel

Only in combination with an appropriate annual management option.

Where this supplement cannot be used

For rush control.

How this supplement will benefit the environment

It supports the active management and eradication of particularly severe infestations of invasive non-native species that are damaging a feature of interest, such as:

  • Himalayan balsam
  • Japanese knotweed
  • floating pennywort and other invasive aquatic plants

Active management is needed to maintain or restore wildlife value or protect archaeological features.

If successful there should be a reduction in cover and density of non-native invasive species. Native plants and animals will re-establish the area cleared, returning a more natural balance to the habitat.


Agreement holder are likely to need to:

  • control the invasive species so that cover is reduced to a set proportion by a set date
  • only carry out chemical control on specifically identified areas
  • use temporary grazing controls to protect vegetation regeneration
  • control any re-infestation during the term of the agreement
  • carry out specific follow up cutting or grazing management tailored to their site

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

The detailed requirements for this supplement will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.

This supplement can be located on the same area as the following supplements:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this supplement

The following section gives advice on carrying out this supplement successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this supplement.

Non-native invasive species

Invasive non-native plants are species that:

  • have been introduced to the UK either intentionally or unintentionally
  • spread and damage the environment, the economy and health

Where this supplement can be used

Use this supplement when aiming to do more than just control an invasive species’ spread and, if feasible, eradicate it. Exact details will be agreed with Natural England.

This supplement can also be used to control non-native invasive species in marginal areas (such as riverbanks, riparian habitats, ditches, channels, field margins, corners and ponds). This can only be done if there is a Countryside Stewardship land management option on that land parcel.

Where this supplement cannot be used

Controlling non-native invasive species

Invasive species can be controlled through a range of methods, including:

  • containing a species in a limited area
  • preventing (or slowing) its spread
  • localised population reduction or eradication in particular areas

Alternative methods include cutting by hand or cutting mechanically, applying herbicide or an alternative agreed method, depending on the plant being controlled.

If the applicant has permission to spray herbicide make sure that the person spraying has the relevant qualifications and certifications.

When controlling and disposing of invasive non-native plants on land, specific legal responsibilities must be complied with, including:

  • spraying with herbicide
  • cutting and burning
  • burying invasive plant material
  • disposing of invasive plant and contaminated soil off site

Further information

Get more information on invasive weeds from:

See the 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.