The new Countryside Stewardship Wildlife Offers scheme has launched for applications for schemes with a 1st January 2019 start date and are being introduced to complement the existing Mid Tier and Higher Tier offers.
There are four individual offers tailored to the type of farming business:
- Arable Offer
- Lowland Grazing Offer
- Mixed Farming Offer
- Upland Offer
Each of these offers has a set of options and minimum requirements, the offers have been developed to benefit the environment by creating sources of nectar and pollen for pollinators, winter food for seed-eating birds and improved habitats. Each option has an individual payment rate and will create a payment for a five year period. Applications are not competitive and should be accepted as long as the offer requirements are met. Land is required to be registered on the Rural Payments Service to the SBI of the business making the application and you must have management control of this land for five years. Applications are limited to one per SBI for this round of applications. Land that is in an Environmental Stewardship agreement that ends after 1st January 2019 will not be eligible in this round of applications, or that subject to an Inheritance Tax exemption with HMRC. Land which has a SSSI or scheduled monument are advised to apply for a Mid Tier of Higher Tier Agreement.
Application packs can be requested by contacting Natural England by 31st May 2018 on 0208 026 1089 or email@example.com . For the Arable Offer applications with fewer than 100 land parcels, you can apply online from 20th February 2018, however you should still request a pre-application pack from Natural England. The deadline for applications in 31st July 2018.
More details including payment rates can be found via the link below:
For example, an Arable Offer, your chosen options must cover at least 3% of your land and there are 11 options divided into 3 categories to choose from. You must pick at least one option from each category but you may choose as many options as you wish.
Category 1: Nectar and Pollen Sources (minimum 1% of your land)
AB1 Nectar flower mix
AB8 Flower-rich margins and plots
Category 2: Winter Food for seed eating birds (minimum 2% of your land)
AB9 Winter bird food
Category 3: Additonal Resources and Habitats (select at least one)
AB4 Skylark Plots
AB5 Nesting plots for lapwing and stone curlew
AB6 Enhanced overwinter stubble
AB11 Cultivated areas for arable plants
AB12 Supplementary winter feeding for farmland birds
SW1 4m and 6m buffer strips on cultivated land
WT2 Buffering in-field ponds and ditches on arable land
BE3 Management of hedgerows