SW11: Riparian management strip
Find out about eligibility and requirements for the riparian management strip option.
How much will be paid
£440 per hectare (ha).
Where to use this option
Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier
Only on land that meets each of the following requirements:
- it is located next to ditches, rivers or streams
- it is grazed
Where this option cannot be used
- adjacent to any other grassland option or adjacent to woodland
- on moorland or unenclosed land
- on designated open access land
- on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) unless approved by Natural England
How this option will benefit the environment
It prevents livestock access to the watercourse and provides a buffer strip. This will help reduce bankside erosion and the transport of pollutants to the watercourse. It will also provide habitat for wildlife and form links between other habitats. As the scrub develops, it may also help to shade and cool the watercourse.
- keep livestock from the riparian strip, leaving no access the watercourse
- make sure the riparian strip is at least 4m wide, but not more than 12m wide
- control all invasive non-native species, such as Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed or Himalayan balsam
- cut only to control woody growth so that cover is between 50% to 80% of the total area
- apply any fertilisers or manures
- apply pesticides, except for herbicides to weed wipe or spot treat injurious weeds, invasive non-native species, nettles or bracken
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:
- SSSI approval if required
Related Mid Tier options
The following options can be located on the same area as this option:
- OR1 - Organic conversion - improved permanent grassland
- OR3 - Organic conversion - rotational land
- OT1 - Organic land management - improved permanent grassland
- OT3 - Organic land management - rotational land
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.
How to choose a site
This option should be used in targeted areas to reduce diffuse water pollution, in particular where livestock access to the watercourse is causing a significant water quality issue.
How to manage the strip
Use permanent fencing to exclude livestock from the strip and watercourse. Include a gate in the fence to provide access to the site for management. Capital grants are available in Mid Tier for a variety of fencing and water supply capital items.
High tensile wire should be used rather than netting if the fence alongside the strip is likely to be flooded. This will help to reduce the chance of debris snagging and therefore will withstand more flood pressure.
Invasive or non-native weeds should be controlled in a way that is not harmful to the stream.
Woody species such as alder, willow and sallow should be encouraged, but not permitted to cover the strip completely. Trees or scrub must be controlled if they start to dominate the strip. This should be carried out in small stages and patches by:
- making scalloped indents along the field or riparian edges
- cutting back isolated sections of larger trees
Published: 2 April 2015
Updated: 10 March 2017
- Updated for 2017 applications.
- Information updated for applications in 2016.
- Update to 'keeping records' section.
- First published.