WT7: Creation of reedbed

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the creation of reedbed option.

How much will be paid

£323 per hectare (ha).

How long this option lasts

This option lasts for 10 years, instead of the standard 5 years for the grant scheme.

Where to use this option

Available for Higher Tier

Whole and part-parcel

Only on:

  • arable land
  • temporary grassland
  • improved grassland
  • wetland habitat in poor condition if approved by a specialist
  • land with a level or very shallow gradient and a reliable, sufficient water supply that will maintain adequate flow and water table elevation during the summer

Where this option cannot be used

  • on existing semi-natural habitat, unless existing wetland is in poor condition and the work is agreed by a specialist
  • on historic or archaeological features
  • when it could flood someone else’s land
  • if it is associated with poor water quality
  • on areas of open water 1ha or more in area

Features that can be included in this option

The following features can be included if they are part of the land, even if they are ineligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS):

  • areas of open water up to 1 ha

How this option will benefit the environment

It will help create new areas of reedbed priority habitat on land that is currently of low wildlife value. If successful it will generate open reed-dominated vegetation on waterlogged ground, interspersed with open water features along ditch lines and pond areas sustained all year round. The reedbed will support healthy populations of target reedbed species.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • implement earthworks to create ground and water conditions suitable for reedbed
  • establish reedbed vegetation
  • manage water levels and water supply
  • manage distribution and flow of water through the site
  • maintain any culverts, sluices, tidal flaps or bunds
  • manage scrub and opportunistic species to assist reedbed establishment
  • dispose of cut material appropriately
  • manage open water features

The agreement will set out what must not be done. It is likely agreement holders will not be allowed to:

  • apply fertilisers or manures
  • use pesticides or herbicides, except to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control injurious weeds and invasive non-native species

Keeping records

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

  • receipted invoices, consents or permissions connected with the work
  • the agreed implementation plan and feasibility study
  • records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel

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 completed work

Before applying for this item applicants should contact the Environment Agency.

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • photographs of areas proposed for land-forming or earthworks and works to establish vegetation

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

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

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

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

Reedbed habitat quality can vary greatly. Reedbed size, degrees of wetness and dryness, scrub cover, soil type, water quality and reed management practices affect wildlife opportunities. For example, a small scrubby reedbed can support a diverse invertebrate assemblage but will not attract breeding bittern.

Create the reedbed with a planned set of wildlife goals. Feasibility and impact should be fully assessed in advance and all appropriate advice and permissions obtained. A detailed implementation plan for the works should be agreed with Natural England. Plans should be appropriate and feasible and take account of:

  • area available
  • water supply
  • topography
  • other landscape and management constraints such as flood risk, historic environment and landscape impact.

Further Information

The RSPB website is a useful source of information, including the report on the project Bringing Reedbeds to Life.

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.