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Countryside Stewardship

Funding for farmers, woodland owners, foresters and land managers to make environmental improvements.

Latest news

Countryside Stewardship applications

Applications for Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier, Mid Tier including Wildlife Offers, and Hedgerows and Boundaries are now closed for 2019.

You can apply for woodland creation, management plan and tree health grants all year.

You can use the Rural Payments service to apply online for the Woodland Management Plan Grant.

Contacting RPA about Countryside Stewardship

From 1 July 2019, if you need to contact us about Countryside Stewardship, you can either call our Customer Service Centre on 03000 200 301 or email us at: ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk and include Countryside Stewardship in the subject line.

You should also use this phone number or email address if you need to contact us about the Basic Payment Scheme or Environmental Stewardship. If you contact us by email, include the relevant scheme in the subject line.

All other email addresses and phone numbers used previously will be unavailable and any customers calling direct lines will be asked to contact the Customer Service Centre.

In addition to our existing security measures, this change will keep your information safe.

What do I need to do now?

Sign in to the Rural Payments service and make sure your details are up to date. We will use these details to confirm your identity when you contact us.

You will need your Customer Reference Number (CRN) and password, or sign in through GOV.UK Verify, then:

  • update your email address
  • update your telephone numbers
  • update your business permission levels
  • add people to your business (with ‘View Business’ permissions, for example.)

For more information about what you can do in the Rural Payments service, go to the Rural Payments: registering and updating your details page.

If you need any help updating your details, please call us on 03000 200 301 and choose the ‘Rural Payments registration’ option.

Rural payments: land guidance

The Rural payments: land guidance gives information about the land used for rural payment schemes, including ‘land use codes’.

Agreements

All the information you need to know about agreements is in the relevant scheme manual or on the Agreement holders’ information page.

Claims

All the information you need to know about making a claim for payment is in the relevant scheme manual.

Find out how to submit a claim at Online claims for Countryside Stewardship.

About the scheme

Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides financial incentives for farmers and land managers to look after their environment by:

  • conserving and restoring wildlife habitats
  • flood risk management
  • woodland creation and management
  • reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture
  • keeping the character of the countryside
  • preserving historical features in the landscape
  • encouraging educational access

The scheme is:

  • open to all eligible farmers, woodland owners, foresters and other land managers
  • suitable for many types of land use, for example conventional and organic farmland, coastal areas, uplands and woodlands
  • competitive
  • scored against local priority targets to maximise environmental benefit

There are 4 main elements to the scheme:

Contact

Contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) if you have any queries, including woodland options and grants:

Rural Payments Agency

(Countryside Stewardship)
PO Box 324
Worksop
S95 1DF

Opening times: 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

Find out about call charges at www.gov.uk/call-charges

Mid Tier

Applications for Mid Tier closed on 31 July 2019.

Mid Tier offers options, supplements and capital items to achieve simple and effective environmental benefits. There are no Mid Tier grants for woodland or educational access.

Capital items for improving water quality are also available through Mid Tier.

Wildlife Offers

Applications for Wildlife Offers closed on 31 July 2019.

The Wildlife Offers are designed to be quicker and simpler to apply for. They are not scored. You will get an agreement if you made a valid application.

Higher Tier

Applications for Higher Tier closed on 3 May 2019.

Higher Tier covers the more environmentally significant sites, commons and woodlands.The options, supplements and capital items available are more complex than Mid Tier due to the needs of these sites.

You can get help with your application from Natural England, Forestry Commission or Catchment Sensitive Farming officers.

Capital grants

Capital agreements are made up of just capital items and last for 2 years. They’re available when the application window is open for:

Use the CS grants finder to see the capital items available.

Hedgerows and boundaries grant applications closed on 3 May 2019.

The funding produces environmental and landscape benefits by improving hedgerows and boundaries on your land.

Woodland support

You can apply for woodland creation, management plan and tree health grants all year.

CS Higher Tier also offers grants to support woodland management. Read more information about this in the Higher Tier manual.

Historic buildings restoration grant

Historic buildings restoration grant is open for applications, provided you applied for the implementation grant by 29 June 2018. Deadline for submission of PA2 and HE2 applications now 30 March 2020.

Catchment Sensitive Farming

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) is a project that aims to reduce the amount of water and air pollution caused by farming operations. CSF officers provide free advice and training on reducing pollution in priority areas, and support when applying for water and air quality capital grants in Mid Tier.

Facilitation fund

The facilitation fund is open for applications from 5 August to midnight 4 October 2019

Find out how the facilitation fund supports facilitators who bring together groups of farmers and land managers to improve their local natural environment.

Read the facilitation fund guide for more information.

Forms and supporting information

Use:

Published 15 June 2015
Last updated 24 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. Deadline for submission of PA2 and HE2 applications now 30 March 2020 wording added to Historic buildings restoration grant section.
  2. Added the 'Minor and temporary adjustment (MTA) form: Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship' to the Forms section.
  3. Revised Woodland creation grant: Countryside Stewardship page
  4. Facilitation Fund is open for applications
  5. Added latest news - Applications for Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier, Mid Tier including Wildlife Offers, and Hedgerows and Boundaries are now closed for 2019. Woodland creation, management plan and tree health grants are open all year for applications.
  6. Latest news: Change to the way customers contact us about Countryside Stewardship
  7. Text updated due to deadline for CS revenue claims.
  8. Rural Payments service ‘Land use’ screens removed from latest news as the screens are available to customers.
  9. 5 June 2019 - Land use screens in the Rural Payments service are not working.
  10. Change to clarify that we must receive add land requests by midnight on 29 May so that we can action the request by 31 May.
  11. Updates to information following 15 May deadline.
  12. 'Add land by email' deadline for requests extended to 31 May.
  13. Added Mid Tier: Farm Advice Framework (FAF) events to Mid Tier section
  14. Information published about Drop-in centres.
  15. Updated Latest news with detail that you can now submit a revenue claim.
  16. Added detail to Latest news about 'How to request MT application pack'
  17. Land-use codes for 2019 published.
  18. We've added information about our latest digital land map checks.
  19. Update page to include information about 'Add land by email'.
  20. Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier, Higher Tier, and Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant opened on 18 February 2019.
  21. Countryside Stewardship opened for applications on 18 Feb
  22. Use the Rural Payments service to edit land use.
  23. Updated Latest News
  24. Land and entitlement transfers available for 2019
  25. Link to guidance for those finding it difficult to meet scheme requirements due to hot and dry weather conditions.
  26. Deadline for first stage of historic buildings restoration grant application process passed.
  27. Mid Tier application deadline extended to 31 August 2018.
  28. Higher tier closed for applications.
  29. Added details of the 3 offices where applications and supporting information should be sent.
  30. Mid Tier (including the 4 new Offers for Wildlife), Higher Tier and the hedgerows and boundaries grant open for 2018 applications.
  31. Updated woodland support section with woodland creation fund 2018 information.
  32. Mapping updates section added.
  33. Event timetable for Mid Tier applications 2017 published.
  34. Mid Tier and Higher Tier open for 2017 applications.
  35. Information about the 2017 hedgerows and boundaries grant added.
  36. Information about the woodland management plan grant for 2017 added.
  37. Information about the woodland creation grant for 2017 added.
  38. Mid Tier has now closed for new applications in 2016.
  39. Added payment timings to agreement holders section.
  40. Updated page to show that the Higher Tier application period has ended for those with agri-environment options.
  41. Mid Tier and Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship applications open for 2016.
  42. Facilitation fund opens for second round of applications 18 January 2016.
  43. First published.