SP9: Threatened species supplement

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the threatened species supplement.

How much will be paid

£120 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this supplement

It is available for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and Higher Tier in combination with a land management option where either:

  • at least one threatened species is present on the site
  • you can manage the site to create the right conditions to allow the reintroduction, re-colonisation or range extension of a named priority species

For Higher Tier only, the management work must have written support from a specialist.

In Mid Tier you can only use this option if it meets the relevant criteria (see below), you have written approval from RPA and it supports the management for brown hairstreak butterfly, corn bunting or turtle dove.

Using this supplement for Turtle Dove

Use this supplement with AB12 or OP3 as part of an Arable or Mixed Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package and include AB11 in the agreement with either BE3 or WD7 (to provide additional foraging areas and places to nest).

You can only use this supplement if your land is located (partly/wholly) within the following priority counties:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • East Sussex
  • Essex
  • Gloucestershire
  • Hampshire
  • Herefordshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Isle of Wight
  • Kent
  • Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Norfolk
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • Rutland
  • South Yorkshire
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Warwickshire
  • West Sussex
  • Wiltshire
  • Worcestershire

Eligible SP9 area when being used with AB12 or OP3 for Turtle Dove

For each tonne -1000kilograms(kg) - of AB12 or OP3 you are using to supply summer supplementary feeding for turtle doves, you can claim 3.00ha of SP9. This supplement will help cover the substantially higher cost of the bespoke turtle dove seed mix as well as additional labour costs associated with maintaining a higher number of feeding areas, staggered feeding days and record keeping.

Minimum and maximum quantity of AB12 and OP3 to be used with SP9 for Turtle Dove

To be eligible to use the SP9 supplement with AB12 or OP3 to deliver summer supplementary feeding for turtle doves, all agreements must contain a minimum of 2 feeding areas (equivalent to 200kg of supplementary feeding using AB12 or OP3). In addition, use of this supplement with AB12 or OP3 is restricted to a maximum of 4 feeding areas per every 250ha of agreement land as follows:

Area in agreement (ha) Maximum number of turtle dove feeding areas per agreement
less than 250 ha 4
250 to 499 ha 8
500 to 749 ha 12
750 to 999 ha 16
more than 1000 ha 20

Using this supplement for Brown Hairstreak

Use this supplement with BE3 Management of hedgerows and include a Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package in the agreement.

Eligible SP9 area when used with BE3 for Brown Hairstreak

For every 2,000 metres (m) of BE3 management of hedgerows, you can claim 1.00 ha of SP9 which is equivalent to £0.06 per metre. We adjust the amount of SP9 payable on a pro rata basis according to the length of BE3 which you are managing for brown hairstreak as follows.

Examples Length managed SP9 payable Amount
A hedgerow that is 1000m in length is managed for brown hairstreak (as per the BE3 and SP9 prescriptions) on both sides 2000m of BE3/SP9 management 1.00ha of SP9 payable £120/year
A hedgerow that is 1000m in length is managed for brown hairstreak (as per the BE3 and SP9 prescriptions) for 500m on one side and 300m on the other side 800m of BE3/SP9 management 0.40ha of SP9 payable £48/year

There is no restriction on the amount of hedgerow that you can manage for brown hairstreak, provided the butterfly occurs on the holding.

Using this supplement for Corn Bunting

Use this supplement with AB10 Unharvested cereal headland as part of the Arable or Mixed Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package, and include AB12 or OP3 in the agreement.

For every 1ha of AB10 being managed for corn bunting you can claim 1 ha of SP9.

Where this supplement cannot be used

  • For any work within the scope of standard options or capital items.

You can locate this supplement on the same area as all other supplements except:

How this supplement will benefit the environment

If successful, this will provide habitat for one or more threatened species


If you’re selected for a site visit, we will check that delivery of the aims is being met and the prohibited activities have not been carried out. This will ensure the environmental benefits are being delivered.

We will also check the aims and prohibited activities for the underlying / associated options. This supplement adds to or modifies those requirements.

Using this supplement for Turtle Dove

Summer supplementary feeding will use the following seed mix.

  • 35% oilseed rape
  • 35% white millet
  • 10% canary seed
  • 10% sunflower hearts
  • 10% wheat

From 1 April until 30 September, there will be about 5kg of summer supplementary feeding mix spread once a week for 20 weeks at each feeding area. Each feeding area will supply 100kg during the feeding period.

There will be a feeding diary detailing:

  • mixture used (weight of components and cost)
  • dates of feeding
  • amount of feed spread on each date
  • total amount (kg) of supplementary feed fed during the feeding period
  • the location of the feeding areas

Supplementary feeding locations will be on bare or sparsely-vegetated ground within 300m of suitable turtle dove nesting habitat (tall, thick hedges or areas of dense scrub), and ideally within close proximity to ponds.

The feeding locations will have patchy, short vegetation less than 15cm in height with a minimum of 30% (preferably 50-60%), bare ground from April to September, as turtle doves will not forage within tall or dense vegetation.

Using this supplement for Brown hairstreak

Hedgerows in option BE3 will be cut on a 3-5 year rotation, with no more than a third of any hedgerow being cut in any one year. Suckering blackthorn growth will be allowed to develop from the hedgerow.

Using this supplement for Corn bunting

The underlying option AB10 will be a minimum of 24m wide and will be located within 200m of a strip or block of one of the following options, which provide insect-rich habitat for the parent birds to collect food for chicks.

  • AB8 Flower rich margins
  • AB1 Nectar Flower Mix
  • OP4 Multi species ley

The underlying AB10 will be re-established in the same location each spring for at least 3 years.

The associated option AB9 Winter bird food or OP2 Wild bird seed mixture will be at least 48m wide. The seed mix will include 60% spring barley and will be re-established every year.

If undertaking AB6, this option will be retained until at least 14 August of the year following the harvest so that any late nesting attempts are not destroyed.

Prohibited Activities

To achieve the aims and deliver the environmental benefits, do not carry out any of the following activities:

  • use feed hoppers where managing AB12 for Turtle Dove
  • use tailings in the feeding mix where managing AB12 for Turtle Dove

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you have not carried out any prohibited activities.

To assist you in achieving the aims and deliver the environmental benefits for this option, we recommend that you use best practice.

Using this supplement for Turtle Dove

We recommend that you use the Turtle Dove feeding procedure / practice set out below.

Where to feed

Suitable feeding locations include cultivated fallows, sparsely vegetated field margins, farm tracks and areas of hard standing. You can locate the feeding locations in-field or at the field edge adjacent to boundaries.

Where the vegetation height is more 15 centimetres (cm) or the area of bare ground falls below 30%, manage the feeding location to maintain optimal ground conditions (by mowing or shallow cultivation) or move it. You can move feeding locations occasionally - where you need to do this, make sure you move them as short a distance as possible.

When to feed

Carry out turtle dove supplementary feeding for 20 weeks between 1 April and 31 August. While most turtle doves return to the UK from late April/early May onwards, it is recommended to start feeding a couple of weeks early to draw in other birds such as pigeons that will, in turn, signpost the feeding areas.

In addition, in years when turtle doves embark on their migration to Africa later, you can, where appropriate, extend feeding into September.

How much to feed each week

Feed 5kg once a week at each feeding location. You can vary the amount to be fed each week by up to 2kg per week to match demand as necessary.

How often to feed

Feed at least once a week unless there is visible evidence of uneaten seed starting to accumulate.

To make sure a continuous supply of seeds is available - as well as to minimise seed spoilage and consumption by non-target species - feed smaller amounts of seed more often, or alternatively, stagger feeding over a number of days. See example feeding programme below.

Field name RLR field parcel number Feeding period No. of weeks to feed How often to feed Designated feeding day Amount to feed each week kg Total to be fed during feeding period
Abbey Field TM12345678 1 April – 31 August 20 Once a week Monday 5kg once a week 0.100 tonne
Blacklands TM23456789 1 April – 31 August 20 Once a week Wednesday 5kg once a week 0.100 tonne
Chapel Field TM34567891 1 April – 31 August 20 Once a week Friday 5kg once a week 0.100 tonne
Long Meadow TM45678912 1 April – 31 August 20 Once a week Sunday 5kg once a week 0.100 tonne
            Total supplementary feed to be fed during the feeding period 0.400 tonne

How to feed

Feed by hand or use equipment such as a slug pellet applicator, fertiliser spreader or purpose built supplementary feeding spreader to scatter the seeds thinly over a wide area. This helps to reduce the risk of attracting undesirable non-target species. As a guide, if you spread seed in a strip measuring 50m by 5m wide this should achieve the best distribution of seeds.


To minimise the risk of disease and parasite transfer between birds using supplementary feeding areas, you should:

  • avoid spreading the seed too thickly - this can encourage parasites harmful to turtle doves, as well as attract undesirable non-target species such as rats
  • spin or scatter the mix only to avoid creating feed piles or long trails
  • stop feeding, if there is a visible build-up of unused food, until seeds are no longer visible
  • move feeding locations at least every other year to minimise pathogen build up

Using this supplement for Corn bunting

We recommend that you use the underlying option AB10 on a part or whole field scale.

Keeping Records

Where there is uncertainty about whether the aims of the options have been delivered, we will take into account any records or evidence you may have kept demonstrating delivery of the aims of the option. This will include any steps you’ve taken to follow the recommended management set out above. It’s your responsibility to keep such records if you want to rely on these to support your claim.

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
  • priority species specialist report
  • feeding diary

Further information

Read more information about Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier and Higher Tier to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 23 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. This item has been updated.

  2. The Requirements and Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option sections were updated yesterday

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  5. Updated for 2017 applications.

  6. Information updated for applications in 2016.

  7. First published.