WN2: Creation of scrapes and gutters

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the creation of scrapes and gutters item.

How much will be paid

£2.80 per square metre.

Where to use this item

Available for Higher Tier

Only in locations agreed with a Natural England adviser.

Where this item cannot be used

On historic or archaeological features, unless consent has been given by a Natural England specialist or local Historic Environment Service

How this item will benefit the environment

Scrapes provide areas of bare ground, which may be designed to hold water in wet habitats or provide early successional areas in dry habitats. Gutters provide shallow channels to hold/transport water through wet habitats and provide feeding areas for waders.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • agree a detailed specification with Natural England for creating scrapes or gutters
  • create the scrapes or gutters in accordance with this specification
  • follow the implementation plan and complete it

Scrapes for waders and wildfowl

If creating scrapes for waders and wildfowl, agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • locate them at least 100m away from hedges or tall trees, in the place shown in the specification
  • carry out the work between July and November
  • make sure the scrape has an irregular shape, to maximise the length of its edge
  • grade the sides of the scrape so that There a gentle slope from the shallow margins (3cm to 5cm deep) to a maximum depth of 40cm to 50cm at the centre
  • leave the surface of the scrape rough
  • keep the scrape wet by using gravity feed or pumping between mid-November and June if groundwater or rainfall is low (as agreed with Natural England)


If creating gutters, agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • create them in the places shown in the specification
  • carry out the work between July and November
  • make sure the gutters are at least 30cm deep and 1.5m wide, with gently sloping edges and shallow margins that are 3cm to 5cm deep
  • connect the gutters to ditches with high water levels
  • periodically isolate gutters from ditches where ditch water levels cannot be held high
  • keep the gutters wet using gravity feed, water control structures or pumps (as detailed in the specification agreed with Natural England)

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

  • use spoil to fill hollows or low areas within the field or to form a bund or bank around the scrape or gutter
  • place spoil on areas with high soil erosion or runoff potential
  • create islands within scrapes
  • carry out works when ground-nesting birds are present
  • fence the scrapes and gutters

Keeping records

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

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • specification of agreed works
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Higher Tier manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work
  • implementation plan or feasibility study if required

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • consent required from Natural England or Local Authority if on historic or archaeological features
  • photograph before works commence

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

This item can be used on the same area as the following options:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

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

What the specification should include

The specification will identify the purpose of the scrapes and gutters, and will be tailored accordingly. It should take account of site hydrology, soil type, botanical interest, archaeological and historic features, and landscape character. The shape, size, depth, location, methods, timing of the work, spoil disposal and ongoing management requirements should all be specified. Specialist advice may be required.

Consent may be needed from the local land drainage authority (such as the Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Board or local authority) to create scrapes or dispose of spoil. A waste exemption licence may also be required.

When not to use this item

This item should not be used to prevent soil erosion or runoff. The soil and water capital items should be used instead.  

Further information

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.