The Countryside Stewardship scheme is now open for applications in England. This includes;
- Mid-tier – Open from 8th February to 29th July 2022 for agreements to commence on 1st January 2023. This year, it is possible to apply online for Mid-tier via the Rural Payments service, meaning it is no longer necessary to request a pack. But for those who prefer not to, or are unable to apply online, packs can be requested via Rural Payments by 5th July. If it is not possible to go online, requests for packs by telephone or email must be made by the earlier date of 27th May. The last date to request Catchment Sensitive Farming Approval or Natural England approval (required for certain options) is 20th May. For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mid-tier-and-wildlife-offers-manual-countryside-stewardship
- Wildlife Offers – These are also open for applications from 8th February to 29th July 2022. As previously, online applications are preferred, but where this is not possible, packs must be requested by 5th July. The Wildlife Offers are meant to be quicker and simpler to apply for. Unlike the Mid-tier, they are not scored, meaning all eligible applications will get an agreement. There are no capital items included in the Wildlife Offers, but it is possible to apply for a standalone Capital Grant (see below) alongside a Wildlife Offer. For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wildlife-offers-countryside-stewardship
- Higher-tier – The application period commences on 8th February. The deadline for submitting a Higher-tier initial application is 29th April with the final application to be submitted by 31st August. The deadline for requesting an application pack (online, email or post) is 31st March. Higher-tier includes woodlands, commons and environmentally significant sites (eg.SSSIs). For more information go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/higher-tier-manual-countryside-stewardship
- Capital Grants – From the 8th February 2022, Capital Grant applications are now open all year round. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-stewardship-capital-grants-manual. Readers will recall the Capital Grants offer was expanded last year so it now offers standalone capital items within three areas;
- Boundaries, trees and orchards
- Water quality
- Air quality
- SFI Pilot Capital Grants – It is now possible to make a Capital Grants application to support SFI Pilot Standards. Those wishing to make an application need to read the Countryside Stewardship Capital Grants (SFI) supplement first (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-stewardship-capital-grants-manual-from-8-february-2022-sustainable-farming-incentive-pilot-supplement). This will direct them to the relevant sections in the 2022 Capital Grants Manual.
- Protection and Infrastructure Grant – This is a new standalone capital grant open all year round from 8th February 2022. It is a two year capital grant for support to create Woodland Infrastructure (FY2). Further information can be obtained via https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protection-and-infrastructure-countryside-stewardship
- Other CS grants remain open all year round, these include;
- Woodland Management Plan grant
- Woodland Tree Health grant
- Implementation Plan (PA1) and Feasibility Study (PA2) grants – funding for more complex projects – speak to a NE advisor first
Andersons’ consultants are experienced at drawing up CS applications. We work with our clients to prepare and submit cost effective CS applications but only if initial discussions conclude it is financially viable. Please contact one of our consultants for further advice.