Catchment Sensitive Farming: reduce water and air pollution

Training, advice and grant support for farmers and land managers to reduce water and air pollution from agriculture.

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) is a partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England. It works with farmers and a range of other partners to improve water and air quality in high priority areas. CSF offers farmers free training, advice and support for grant applications.

Find out if your land’s in a high priority area

To see if land is in a high priority area:

  1. Go to MAGIC.
  2. In Table of Contents, select ‘Countryside Stewardship Targeting & Scoring Layers’, then ‘Water’, then ‘Countryside Stewardship Water Quality Priority Areas (England)’.
  3. In search box, enter place or postcode and hit return.
  4. The map shows high priority (red) and medium priority (yellow) areas.
  5. Click the ‘Identify’ icon on the toolbar (the ‘i’ in a white circle).
  6. Move the crosshairs over your land and left-click the mouse.
  7. The pop-up window shows location details and if the land’s in a high priority area.

Training and advice

CSF gives free training and advice to farmers and land managers in high priority areas. It provides practical and cost-effective solutions that improve water and air quality through:

  • workshops
  • demonstrations
  • farm walks
  • farm events
  • confidential one-to-one advice for priority farms

Contact your local Catchment Sensitive Farming officer (CSFO) for details.

Topics covered include:

You can find out more in related publications and documents.

Countryside Stewardship scheme: get support and approval before you apply

Some items in the Mid Tier Scheme and Capital Grants Scheme require support from a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO). Check the scheme requirements to see when this applies.

You must request support at least 6 weeks before you intend to apply.

Capital Grant Scheme: send the completed CSFO support and approval request form (MS Word Document, 307KB) to your local CSFO by Friday 19 March 2021. The scheme closes for applications on 30 April 2021.

Mid Tier Scheme: send the completed CSFO support and approval request form (MS Word Document, 307KB) to your local CSFO by Friday 18 June 2021. The scheme closes for applications on 30 July 2021.

Natural England will not consider request forms that arrive late.


CSF works with a range of partners, including water companies, local authorities, agricultural and environmental bodies, to improve water and air quality.

National partnerships

National partners run joint events and share best practice. They include:

Building capacity with water companies

CSF is working with water companies and their farm advice delivery partners to address water quality issues through:

  • shared on-farm events
  • co-funding of local CSFOs
  • joint catchment advice products
  • specialist advice services for farmers

Long-term catchment partnerships

These are jointly funded and run by CSF and the partners involved. The CSFOs are employed by the lead partner. Each partnership provides advice, training and grant support to farmers in their catchment’s priority areas.

Catchment partnership Local partners
Rivers Nene and Welland Environment Agency
Isle of Wight Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Environment Agency, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
River Nidd Nidderdale AONB and Yorkshire Water
Yorkshire Dales Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
River Loddon Affinity Water
Hertfordshire catchments Environment Agency

Short-term collaborative projects

CSF collaborates on projects with partners such as rivers trusts, FWAG, universities and water companies. This collaborative working:

  • supports CSF’s work in priority catchments
  • extends CSF’s reach and that of our partners
  • pools resources and expertise
  • allows us to pilot innovative and more integrated approaches

CSF is working with FWAG South East, farmers, agronomists and South East Water to show the potential benefits of cover crops including the reduction of diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA) . The partners:

CSF is working with the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust to test a range of water holding features that reduce sediment in surface runoff from farmland, known as sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).


Contact your local CSFO.

Published 9 September 2014
Last updated 5 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Catchment sensitive farming officer support and approval request form added for Countryside Stewardship grants.

  2. Added 'flood and coastal management' to the list of topics covered by CSF.

  3. Updated the long-term catchment partnerships table.

  4. Added Hertfordshire to the long-term catchment partnerships table.

  5. Added section on how to check if land's in a high priority area.

  6. CSF is also working to improve air quality.

  7. Replaced catchment partnerships attachment with updated version.

  8. Details of new Countryside Stewardship water grant scheme added.

  9. reminder that final Capital Grant Scheme claims need to be submitted by 31 January 2015.

  10. added details of new Countryside Stewardship scheme

  11. Updated Catchment Sensitive Farming officer contact list

  12. First published.