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Countryside Stewardship

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What is the Business Support?

Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides financial incentives for farmers, foresters and land managers to look after and improve the environment.

CS protects and enhances the natural environment by:

  • increasing biodiversity
  • improving habitat
  • expanding woodland areas
  • improving water quality
  • improving air quality
  • improving natural flood management

Countryside Stewardship grants for 2023

CS is made up of 8 grants (when they are all open). The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages CS agreements.

Capital Grants

The Capital Grants scheme is part of Mid Tier. It provides 3-year agreements offering capital items to achieve specific environmental benefits in 4 groups:

  • boundaries, trees and orchards
  • water quality
  • air quality
  • natural flood management

Higher Tier Capital Grants

  • Some capital grants are part of Higher Tier. These grants provide 3-year agreements offering capital items to achieve additional environmental benefits alongside existing Higher Tier agreements.

Protection and Infrastructure grants

  • Protection and Infrastructure grants are for capital items that support improving the management of woodland and to help manage the impact of beaver behaviours.

Woodland Management Plan (WMP) grants

  • A WMP grant is a capital grant for a one-off payment to create a 10-year woodland management plan. It must be fully compliant with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS).

Woodland Tree Health (WTH) grants

  • A WTH grant helps to restock or improve woodland after tree health problems.

Implementation Plan (PA1) and Feasibility Study (PA2) grants

  • Implementation Plan and Feasibility Study grants provide funding for more complex agreements and projects. You must speak to a Natural England advisor before applying for one of these grants.

How Countryside Stewardship fits in with the Agricultural Transition

CS continues to offer Mid Tier and Higher Tier agreements starting in 2024, alongside rolling out further elements of our new scheme, the Sustainable Farm Incentive (SFI). Several SFI standards are already available, with more due to be introduced in future.

Signing up to a CS agreement now will put you in the best possible position to join future schemes. It will also give you a viable, long-term source of income for providing environmental benefits as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments are reduced.

All new CS agreement holders will be able to terminate the agreement early without penalty (at agreed points) provided any new agreement delivers equivalent or greater levels of environmental outcomes.

SFI 2022 and 2023

Anyone with a CS agreement will be able to apply for SFI actions so long as we are not paying for the same action twice. Find out how the SFI interacts with other schemes.

How to find out more?

To find out plenty more information click here.

Contact information:

Rural Payments Agency


Rural Payments Agency (CS) PO Box 324 Worksop S95 1DF

03000 200 301

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