CT3: Management of coastal saltmarsh

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the management of coastal saltmarsh option.

How much will be paid

£77 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel


Only on saltmarsh and transitional areas (transitions to adjacent shingle or dune habitats) that are both:

  • above mean high water neap tide level (the average throughout the year of the heights of two successive high waters when the tidal range is at its smallest)
  • covered by seawater between 25 and 600 times a year (1 to 24 times a year for transitional areas)

Features that can be included in this option

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

  • open water (such as small lagoons and creeks)
  • bare mud (if within the saltmarsh mosaic, but not separate external areas of mudflat)

How this option will benefit the environment

It maintains coastal saltmarsh in good condition and restores saltmarsh in unfavourable condition when grazing or cutting are key factors.

If successful there will be:

  • saltmarsh areas in favourable condition on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), meaning they are adequately conserved and are meeting conservation objectives
  • saltmarsh areas in improving condition if not on SSSIs, meaning measures are in place that if maintained will make them favourable over time
  • a mosaic of open habitats and bare ground with typical saltmarsh plant species such as sea aster, sea purslane, sea-blite and sea-lavender, although the exact species will depend on the location of the saltmarsh
  • a gradual change from less stable and seasonal habitats on the seaward side to the more stable, well-established landward saltmarsh and transitions covered only by the highest tides


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • maintain or re-introduce favourable management, mainly through suitable grazing, where appropriate, but also by limiting disturbance
  • continue an appropriate grazing regime (the right types of stock, in the right numbers and at the right times of year) or exclude grazing where necessary, such as to restore condition or prevent erosion
  • maintain the saltmarsh vegetation by not disturbing the surface, but allow natural and dynamic coastal changes, such as changes due to storms or windblow

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

  • use fertilisers or manures
  • use supplementary feed
  • plough, cultivate or re-seed

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
  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
  • stock records to show grazing activity on parcels

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 management undertaken, submitted with final claim

Applicants will need to send the following with their application (to ensure no new access or drainage is added during the agreement period):

  • a map of permitted access routes
  • a map of the land drainage system (if any)

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

The following 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.

The precise management agreed will depend on the particular conditions on a site. It could include maintaining an absence of grazing, light grazing and controlling damaging activities associated with public access. This option will contribute to climate change adaptation and help to conserve and strengthen the distinctive local character of estuarine and coastal landscapes.

A site suitable for restoration through this option may be one that is currently being grazed but where this is impacting on the quality of the habitat and associated species. For example, a site may currently be over-grazed or grazed at an inappropriate time of year. Alternatively, it may be a site that needs grazing, but is difficult to graze and has become dominated by a few coarse plant species. Where significant changes to grazing levels are required, these can be supported under the CT6 supplement (to be used with this option). The transitions between saltmarsh and other habitats to landward, exposed to infrequent tidal inundation, can be included in this option as they can support important species and plant communities which are increasingly rare.

Any seaweed or driftwood accumulations should be retained and sediment allowed to accumulate or migrate inland following storms and other coastal processes.

Further information

Further information can be found in:

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.