WT6: Management of reedbed

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

How much will be paid

£78 per hectare (ha)

Where to use this option

Available for Higher Tier

Whole and part-parcel

Only on:

  • priority habitat reedbed in good condition and more than 2ha in area
  • degraded reedbed more than 2ha in area with the potential for restoration

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):

  • areas of open water up to 1 ha

How this option will benefit the environment

It is for managing, maintaining and restoring priority reedbed habitat.

If successful there will be predominantly open, reed-dominated vegetation with occasional scrub, and open water features along ditch lines and ponded areas. High water levels will sustain open water features all year round. Reedbeds will be well maintained or recovering and will support healthy populations of target reedbed species.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • manage water levels and water supply
  • manage distribution and flow of water through the site
  • maintain any culverts, sluices, tidal flaps or bunds
  • manage scrub and vegetation to maintain a predominantly open reedbed
  • dispose of cut material appropriately
  • manage open water features

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

  • apply fertilisers or manures
  • use pesticides or herbicides, except to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control injurious weeds and invasive non-native species

Keeping records

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

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • photographs before works commence

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.

Reedbed habitat quality can vary greatly. Reedbed size, degrees of wetness and dryness, scrub cover, soil type, water quality and reed management practices all affect wildlife opportunities. For example, a small scrubby reedbed might support a diverse invertebrate assemblage but will not attract breeding bittern.

Manage the reedbed with a planned set of wildlife goals. Plans should be appropriate and feasible and take account of:

  • area available
  • water supply
  • topography
  • other landscape and management constraints such as flood risk, historic environment and landscape impact

Further information

The RSPB website is a useful source of information, including the report on Bringing Reedbeds to Life.

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.