FM2: Major preparatory works for priority habitats (creation and restoration) and priority species

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the major preparatory works for priority habitats (creation and restoration) and priority species item.

How much will be paid

Up to 100% of actual costs.

Where to use this item

Available for Higher Tier.


  • with a land management option where a priority species is known to be present, or occurs locally and the work is likely to lead to its colonisation – the work needs written support from a recognised specialist (either an individual or organisation) on the species
  • when the need for major preparatory works is identified in an Implementation Plan or Feasibility Study approved by Natural England
  • to create or enhance a priority habitat along with a land management option

How this item will benefit the environment

If successful this item will result in large scale restoration and creation of priority habitats and bespoke management for priority species.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • when necessary, agree with Natural England a detailed specification for the works
  • get at least 3 written quotations for completion of the work, identifying associated costs, and agree the selected quotation with Natural England
  • complete the works in the approved specification, implementation plan or feasibility study within the agreed timescale

Keeping records

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

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • 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:

  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is not available
  • photographs of the completed work

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • the 3 quotes for completion of the work
  • a copy of the implementation plan or feasibility study, when necessary
  • photographs before works commence
  • item specification if required

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.

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.

Moorland management option

Applicants can use this item with UP3 - Management of moorland option to fund:

  • restoring and stabilising bare peat - seeding, geo-textiles, plug planting, re-profiling and sphagnum inoculation
  • enhancing wet heath - plug plants, sphagnum, geo-textiles, and stone or wooden dams for gully works
  • heath restoration works by removing conifers
  • the cost of transporting materials over sensitive moorland habitats, such as blanket bog

Other land management

Applicants can use this item with other land management options to fund:

  • specific plug plants (food plants for invertebrate species, such as barberry for barberry carpet moth, hogs fennel for fisher’s estuarine moth, tailored seed mixes for short-haired bumble bee)
  • native British seed mixes (sourced from wild populations) to increase plant diversity by:

    • over-sowing with an agreed seed mix or green hay
    • spreading brash or plug planting along with habitat creation or restoration
    • the cost of collecting, transporting and spreading hay or brash
  • creating coastal habitat, including inter-tidal habitat (‘managed realignment’)
  • creating shingle islands for species such as tern or avocet
  • creating and enhancing lowland heath - clearing bracken litter and humus, preparing ground, spreading heather cuttings or seeds, and creating bare ground
  • restoring and maintaining natural river processes in a floodplain
  • hiring and transporting specialist equipment for preparatory work for priority species habitat management
  • maintenance costs for hiring, purchasing or maintaining equipment that helps priority species to thrive, such as:

    • maintaining electric fencing on breeding lapwing plots
    • maintaining mobile batteries for electric fencing
    • keeping grass cut to stop shorting of electric fence
    • regular equipment maintenance

Where this item cannot be used

This item cannot be used to fund:

  • any work within the scope of standard options or capital items
  • certified agricultural seed, amenity grass seed or legume varieties seed, even if these are species found in the wild, unless the seed is used:

    • to restore bare peat on moorland
    • where agricultural or amenity grasses are used as a nurse crop to establish moorland vegetation 

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.