Written by John Swire
The 2021 application window for Countryside Stewardship is now open for agreements that will start on 1st January 2022
Now is the ideal time for growers to engage with Countryside Stewardship (CSS) is the advice from Hutchinsons Environmental Services Specialist Hannah Joy.
By signing up to a countryside stewardship agreement, growers will be in the best possible position to join ELMS, as well as giving a viable, guaranteed source of income as BPS begins to reduce as of this year, she says.
“It is important to reiterate that anyone entering into a countryside stewardship scheme now, can without penalty, terminate their CSS agreement early and transfer into ELMS if they are successful in securing a place.”
“Uptake has been and will continue to be high this year, however understandably there is some uncertainty with the lack of detail surrounding ELMs and what it will look like going forward. However my advice is that it is better to engage now and get ahead,” she says.
Much of the CSS information has remained the same, however some changes have been made to this year’s applications, she points out.
“New air quality options have been introduced – advice and approval of use from Catchment sensitive farming for these options will be required. The Uplands offer has been expanded to allow more landowners to access options, and educational access is now available to be used in Mid-tier agreements, which was previously only higher tier.”
“A new standalone capital grant offer has been introduced – the new grant expands on the offers previously available under the hedgerow/boundary and water capital grants. There will now be 67 capital items to select from,” she says.
“The capital items available will be within the following groups: boundaries, trees and orchards, water quality and air quality. The maximum amount of funding available for any application has been increased from £10,000 – £60,000, with a £20,000 limit within each option grouping.”
Hannah points out that mid-tier capital items will still be available. “However there is now a spending cap of £120,000 for ait and water quality items and £50,000 for boundaries, trees and orchard items.”
Key dates for this year’s Countryside Stewardship application window are as below:
28th May – late date to request a CS mid-tier paper application pack by email or phone.
28th May – last date to request approval for management options for priority habitats and species.
6 weeks before submission of application – minimum period to allow for Catchment Sensitive farming approval visit requests and/or approval.
30th June (midnight) – deadline for application pack requests online.
30th July – SUBMISSION DEADLINE with supporting information.
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