CT1: Management of coastal sand dunes and vegetated shingle

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the management of coastal sand dunes and vegetated shingle option.

How much will be paid

£217 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel


Only on:

  • coastal sand dune priority habitat
  • vegetated shingle priority habitat

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):

  • scrub
  • open water
  • bare ground

How this option will benefit the environment

It is designed to make sure that existing coastal sand dunes and vegetated shingle sites are managed appropriately. This includes both sites in good condition or those that need restoration, such as where management has stopped or scrub has invaded.

If successful there will be:

  • sand dunes and shingle areas in favourable condition on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), meaning they are adequately conserved and are meeting conservation objectives
  • sand dunes and shingle 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 sand dune and shingle plant species, such as sand couch, marram grass and sand sedge, although the exact species will depend on the habitat’s location
  • a gradual change from less stable and seasonal habitats near the beach (including drift line vegetation) to more stable landward habitats, connected by moving sand or shingle


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • provide or maintain areas of bare ground
  • carry out extensive grazing (or cutting if grazing is not possible) to encourage vegetation mosaics
  • allow natural and dynamic coastal changes, such as changes due to storms or windblow (deposits of windblown sand)
  • control scrub or other invasive plant species

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
  • apply any lime
  • 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
  • a map of the land drainage system (if any)

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

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • a map of permitted access routes - these can be marked on any map including the Farm Environment Record (FER)

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.

Dunes and shingle are important elements of coastal landscapes, with active processes creating variation in their structure. These coastal systems also act as an important form of natural sea defence, and thus play a significant part in adaptation to climate change. The history of management is important to understand: sites that have a tradition of low-intensity grazing should maintain this, while in other areas, such as shingle, the habitat would be damaged if grazing was introduced for the first time.

While grazing is therefore encouraged on many dune sites, it is not mandatory in all cases; where dune grazing is not possible, a selective cutting regime is an acceptable alternative. On many shingle sites, neither grazing nor cutting is appropriate, but this option may still be used where the shingle forms part of a wider coastal system (see below). Any seaweed or driftwood accumulations should be retained.

Where invasion of tall coarse grasses and scrub such as blackthorn, bramble and sea buckthorn has occurred due to under-grazing, capital works should be undertaken to keep the scrub within agreed limits and grazing or cutting regimes adjusted to prevent re-invasion.

Option CT2 - Creation of coastal sand dunes and vegetated shingle on arable land and improved grassland should be considered, if the habitat is expanding through rollback onto nearby arable or grassland. Rollback is the movement of dunes inland due to coastal processes and wind blow.

Further information

Further information can be found on Buglife habitat management pages for:

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.