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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Agricultural purposes: the countryside stewardship scheme

The Habitat Scheme (IHTM24065) in England closed from January 2000. In effect, it became subsumed into the existing Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS). This does not ban agricultural activity and nor does it include any specific option for taking land out of agricultural production.

However, the CSS is not limited to farmers or agricultural land, so that someone accepted into the scheme would not automatically qualify for agricultural relief.

If there is evidence that the land in question was being occupied for the purposes of agriculture (IHTM24060) at the relevant date then it would normally qualify for agricultural relief.

In Scotland, the Habitat Scheme closed on 31 December 1996 and was subsumed into the Countryside Premium Scheme