The application window for Countryside Stewardship opened on Tuesday 11th February 2020 for farmers and landowners. Defra minister has encouraged farmers to use Countryside Stewardship as a stepping stone to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).
Eustice confirmed that farmers will be able to exit Countryside Stewardship without penalty when the new ELMS is introduced. ELMS will be designed to remove red tape and create a tailored scheme for individual needs.
There are a number of schemes that can be applied for including the Wildlife Offers, Hedgerows and Boundaries and Woodland support which includes the Woodland Creation Grant.
The Wildlife Offers are designed to protect wildlife and preserve the natural environment which includes sources of nectar and pollen for insect pollinators, winter food for seed eating birds and improved habitats. The application deadline is 31st May 2020.
The Hedgerows and Boundaries scheme includes 12 capital items. The items include earth bank restoration, hedgerow laying and stone wall restoration with a fixed payment rate for each. The scheme is designed to help farmers and landowners restore existing boundaries and hedgerows. The application deadline is 31st May 2020.
The Countryside Stewardship scheme can be applied to in addition to receiving Basic Payment. In order to apply you must be registered with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Applications can be submitted online, by email or by post.