Environmental Stewardship: how to get paid under an agreement
- Natural England and Rural Payments Agency
- Part of:
- Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform and Environmental Stewardship: guidance and forms for existing agreement holders
- First published:
- 11 September 2014
- Last updated:
- 7 March 2016, see all updates
- Applies to:
As an Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), Uplands ELS, Organic ELS or Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement holder, or authorised agent, find out how to claim for payment.
Making a claim
Agreement holders should have received a 2016 Environmental Stewardship (ES) claim form by the end of March 2016. If you haven’t received it, contact Natural England on 0300 060 0011 to request another copy.
The claim form has been pre-populated with details of the revenue options on your current ES agreement. If you’ve notified the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) about a mapping change using an RLE1 form and these changes aren’t shown in annex 1 or 2, make a note of these changes in section 4 of the claim form.
Return your claim form by:
- post using the Natural England office address shown in the letter sent with your claim form
- sending a scanned copy to the email address shown in the letter sent with your claim form
- delivering it by hand to any Natural England office
Natural England may contact you after receiving your claim:
- if you’ve missed any information that you need to provide
- with details of penalties that may be applied if you submitted your claim late
Natural England will aim to pay claims by:
- December 2016 for partial payments
- June 2017 for end of year payments
Agreements with rotational arable options
Section 3 of the 2016 claim form shows details of any rotational arable options (RAO) that are part of your agreement. If there isn’t any data in this section then you don’t have any RAO in your agreement.
You should add details about the current cropping year (ie from autumn 2015 to harvest 2016), except for options including over winter stubbles.
For over-winter stubble options, you need to provide details of where these will be located in autumn/winter 2016/2017. If you don’t yet know the location of these options, make sure you inform Natural England by letter or email by 1 September 2016.
You don’t need to state where the option will be if your agreement ends before options are due to start.
Find out more about the requirements for each RAO (PDF, 22.3KB, 2 pages) .
Changing your claim
You can amend your claim after you’ve submitted a claim form by writing to Natural England (eg if you’ve not been able to carry out the management requested, or because of land being transferred in or out of the agreement).
Natural England won’t apply a late claim penalty if they receive your change on or before 31 May 2016. After this date, Natural England will still accept changes until 10 June 2016, however, late claim penalties may be applied to the area that has been amended.
Additional important information about ES claims
Changes to agreements
The completion of the ES claim form does not replace the requirement to notify Natural England of any changes to an agreement.
Agreement holders should refer to the relevant ES handbook for full details of the requirements and deadlines for:
- amendment requests for land transfers
- amendments and derogations
Penalties may be incurred for failure to meet the requirements as set out in the handbook.
See change, transfer or close your agreement for more information.
Claim deadline and late claim penalties
Agreement holders should submit their ES claim form as soon as possible to arrive before midnight on 16 May 2016 to avoid any loss of payments.
Agreement holders can still submit their claim form to arrive by midnight on 10 June 2016, but there will be a 1% late claim penalty applied to each working day the claim is late. Amendments may also be submitted to arrive by midnight on 10 June 2016 with a late claim penalty applied as above to the amendment.
Agreement holders currently transferring all or part of their agreement land should telephone Natural England on 0300 060 0011.
ES agreements are managed by Natural England. Natural England will send applicants the relevant claim forms when appropriate.
The RPA will manage and make payments directly into their bank account. If applicants have not yet provided their bank details, contact the RPA on 03000 200 301 or email: CSC@rpa.gsi.gov.uk and request a customer registration form.
Payment for capital works: infrastructure and equipment improvements
Natural England will send agreement holders a capital works claim form. Claims can be made throughout the year under the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement when work is completed, as specified in their agreement. Agreement holders can also make HLS claims for capital works for educational access visits.
Agreement holders that fail to meet the terms of their agreement may not be paid.
If agreement holders are not registered for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs they will need a VAT declaration form.
Other relevant forms needed to support all or part of ES agreements.
Existing ES agreement holders will be required to submit a claim form to arrive by 16 May 2016, in order to receive their scheduled ES payments.
Agreement holders must have met the terms of their ELS, OELS or HLS agreement to receive payment. Check details in the relevant handbook from when the agreement started:
Handbook 1: agreement start dates from 1 February 2006 to 1 September 2008
Handbook 2: agreement start dates from 1 October 2008 to 1 January 2010
- 2nd edition: October 2008 (NE108)
- options, capital items and management conditions: 2nd edition October 2008
- payments booklet: 2nd edition October 2008
Handbook 3: agreement start dates from 1 February 2010 to 1 December 2012
- 3rd edition: February 2010 and official list of changes: November 2010 (NE228)
- ES - supplement for 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions (NE360)
- 3rd edition: February 2010 and official list of changes: November 2010 (NE227)
- ES - supplement for 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions (NE359)
Handbook 4: agreement start dates from 1 January 2013 to 1 December 2014
- ELS: 4th edition January 2013 - includes uplands ELS (NE349)
- OELS: 4th edition January 2013 - includes uplands OELS (NE351)
- HLS: 4th edition January 2013 (NE350)
Changes to payment timings from 1 January 2015
From 2015 onwards all new agri-environment agreements will have a single start date of 1 January in every year.
The payment periods for all current ES agreements would be adjusted to a January to December year, eg a current agreement starting on 1 May and ending 30 April would be adjusted so that the payment period was January to December.
This will not affect the total amount agreement holders are due to receive under their agreement. However, timing and value of individual payments may differ from the original schedule in their agreement. See uniform start dates: questions and answers (PDF, 78.1KB, 8 pages) for further details.
In late 2014 Natural England wrote to all agreement holders with their new payment schedule. Use the payment timing tool (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 417KB) to check how payment timings will be affected.
For more information contact Natural England on telephone: 0300 060 3900 or email:email@example.com.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a responsibility to make sure that its schemes are delivered in accordance with EU law and the taxpayer is protected. The change to the timing of ES payments from 2015 onwards will avoid financial penalties being imposed by the European Commission if the UK does not adopt a single start date approach.
Who to contact
Rural Payments helpline: Telephone 03000 200 301
Natural England customer services: Telephone 0300 060 0011
Published: 11 September 2014
Updated: 7 March 2016
- Added information about claiming a payment in 2016.
- Page updated with information for 2016 claims.
- Updated information about declaring the location of rotational arable options.
- Change to how to make a claim in 2015.
- claim deadline extended by 1 month to 15 June
- First published.