Farming and food grants and payments – guidance

Environmental Stewardship: funding to farmers for environmental land management

As a landowner or manager find out about Environmental Stewardship, whether you are eligible for funding, who to contact and how to apply.


Environmental Stewardship is a land management scheme that provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England to deliver effective environmental management on your land. There are 3 levels to the scheme:

  • Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) – includes Uplands ELS (UELS): simple and effective land management agreements with priority options
  • Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS) – includes Uplands OELS: organic and organic/conventional mixed farming agreements
  • Higher Level Stewardship (HLS): more complex types of management and agreements tailored to local circumstances

More details about the Environmental Stewardship Scheme can be found on the Natural England archive website.

Find out more about choosing options within each scheme.

Entry Level Stewardship schemes closed to new applications

ELS, OELS and Uplands ELS schemes closed on 26 September 2014. Any applications received after this date will not be accepted. The ELS-online system has also closed.

HLS agreement holders deadline remains the same as agreed with your Natural England adviser.

Conditions to funding in 2014

Funding will be limited to specific scheme conditions in 2014:

  • Existing agreements (started in 2013 and before) - funding will be available for existing agreements which continue beyond 2013
  • New HLS agreements in 2014 - funding will be available for HLS agreements for eligible expiring (‘classic’) scheme agreements (such as Countryside Stewardship Scheme and Environmentally Sensitive Areas), for SSSIs and other high priority cases, and to meet Water Framework Directive objectives.
  • New ELS agreements in 2014 - funding will be available for new/renewed ELS agreements, in the following circumstances:

    • for underpinning new HLS agreements
    • in the uplands (UELS)
    • for land coming out of ‘classic’ scheme agreements in 2014 which does not meet HLS criteria
    • for organic producers (OELS)

It should be noted that:

  • ELS renewals/new agreements are only available if one of the criteria above is met
  • it will not be possible to extend the duration of any agreements which are due to expire in 2014

How to apply and terms and conditions

To find out if you are eligible go to section 1 of the Environmental Stewardship Handbook edition 4 for each level of the scheme. For ELS, UELS and OELS an agreement lasts for 5 years. For HLS an agreement lasts for 10 years.

The application process is different for each scheme - details can be found in sections 4 and 5 of each scheme handbook and includes terms and conditions that apply:

It will take up to 3 months to get an agreement from the date your application is received.

How to manage your land under a new agreement

These publications include management if your land includes common land or traditional orchards:

Scheme handbooks: advice on the process and management for each scheme option

See the collection of forms needed to support all or part of your ES agreement.

Who to contact about your agreement

Natural England offices are open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

You can call our central telephone number: 0300 060 3900 Email address:

Or you can contact our offices directly by post or email:

East of England

(Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk)

Natural England

PO Box 247,
CB2 2WW.


East Midlands

(Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland)

Natural England

PO Box 10276,
NG2 9PD.


North east

(Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham, former county of Cleveland)

Natural England

PO Box 1316,
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 4PB


North west

(Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside)

Natural England

PO Box 380,


South east

(Greater London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex)

Natural England

PO Box 2423,


South west

(Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, The Scilly Isles, Wiltshire, former county of Avon)

Natural England

PO Box 3135,


West Midlands

(Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire)

Natural England

PO Box 530,


Yorkshire and the Humber

(East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire)

Natural England

PO Box 798,