How much will be paid
£39 per hectare (ha).
Where to use this option
Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier
Only on land above the moorland line within severely disadvantaged areas (SDA), on parcels less than 25ha in area - parcels must be enclosed.
When this option is targeted at ground nesting birds, parcels must have scrub cover of less than 1% of the area.
Features that can be included in this option
The following features can be included if they’re part of the land, even if they are ineligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS):
- scrub including gorse bushes and briar
- scree, rock, outcrops or boulders
- streams less than 4m wide and that take up less than 1 ha of the parcel
How this option will benefit the environment
It maintains and enhances areas of enclosed rough grazing land within an upland farming system. This land contains extensive areas of moorland vegetation but it does not meet moorland priority habitat status over the majority of the parcel.
If successful there will be:
- benefits to moorland birds such as short eared owl and ring ouzel
- improved breeding and feeding habitat for birds such as golden plover and redshank
- a mosaic of upland rough grazing habitats with diverse sward heights and extended areas of wet, marshy grassland vegetation
- any historic environment features (such as old walls) should be visible, with low dwarf shrub or grassy cover and no bare soil or sodden, trampled land (poaching)
- contain bracken and common gorse so that they do not spread to new areas of land
- control common gorse by cutting or burning in blocks
- maintain dwarf shrub coverage
maintain scrub in discrete small patches, lines and occasional individual bushes scattered across the site:
- where scrub cover is less than 5%, keep the full extent of well-established scrub
- where scrub cover is more than 5%, keep scrub cover between 5% and 10% of the parcel area
- maintain a sward with a range of heights during the growing season so that at least 20% is less than 7cm high and 20% is more than 7cm high - no height variation needs to be maintained when the field is closed up for a cut of hay or silage
- only use machinery or allow other activities that might disturb breeding birds between 16 July and 14 March
- control dense rush by grazing or cutting every year so that stands do not cover more than 20% of the parcel area and sward heights are less than 20cm high by 30 September
- use pesticides, except for herbicides to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control of injurious weeds, invasive non-natives, nettles and bracken
- apply any lime, fertilisers or manures
- supplementary feed except for mineral blocks
- cut rushes between 15 March and 31 July
- cut more than half of the scrub in any year, except on historic and archaeological features
- use herbicides on ferns other than bracken
- plough, cultivate or re-seed
- carry out any drainage works, including modifying existing drainage, unless Natural England has given written permission before work takes place
Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:
- receipted invoices, consents or permissions connected with the work
- records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel
- timings of herbicide or pesticide applications along with the product used and application rate
- burning and cutting dates and locations
- a monthly record of stock numbers grazing each parcel in this option
- any written agreements from Natural England for drainage works
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:
- a photographic record of the extent of dwarf shrub, bracken and gorse on the site
Applicants will have to send the following with their application:
- photographs showing the extent of scrub on the site
- a map of the areas of dwarf shrub, bracken and gorse (this can be done on the FER)
- a map of the drainage system
Related Mid Tier options
The following options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:
- HS4 – Scrub control on historic and archaeological features
- OT6 – Organic land management - enclosed rough grazing
- SP6 - Cattle grazing supplement
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.
Pick the right location
Suitable land includes:
- uncultivated grassland
- unimproved pasture
- allotments that have been historically set aside for the grazing of animals
- steeper or less accessible parcels not routinely used for producing forage
- seasonally wet parcels
- parcels with naturally occurring flushes or rock outcrops
These parcels tend to have unimproved soils that support semi-natural vegetation, priority habitats or species listed under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act.
Avoid damaging historic and archaeological features as these are particularly vulnerable in historically uncultivated parcels.
See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.