Our Farm Environment Services
With our specialist expertise in farm ecology and conservation, the Cheffins Rural Professionals Team is well-placed to help you maximise your environmental credentials.
Countryside Stewardship scheme (CS)
The CS schemes provide a framework that farmers and landowners can use to construct a tailor-made environmental scheme. Our advisory service can encompass the entire application process, identifying the opportunities available to achieve the best balance between maximising environmental benefits with financial returns for farmers and landowners.
What Countryside Stewardship schemes are available?
There are over 130 different options available under Mid-Tier Stewardship, offering huge scope to build a scheme that works best for most farming systems. There is an emphasis on measures to enhance the natural environment, particularly water quality and biodiversity, and also options to benefit farm boundaries, landscape, archaeological features, traditional farm buildings and more.
A Mid-Tier Stewardship scheme can be made up of both ‘annual’ and ‘capital’ options, with each option having its own payment rate. Applicants can choose which parts of the farm are entered into a scheme, so it is not necessarily the case that your whole farm needs to be included.
The wide scope of Mid-Tier Stewardship makes it the most popular of the Countryside Stewardship schemes, however, applications are scored according to the quality of the environmental benefit being proposed before a five-year agreement is offered.
We can guide you through the application process all the way from initial ideas through to your agreement offer.
There are four Wildlife Offers which are grouped into farm type - arable, lowland grazing, mixed farming and upland. Essentially, each offer represents a much more condensed version of Mid-Tier.
There is a smaller list of options available within each offer type and there are minimum amounts you must choose in order to build a viable scheme. Capital options are not available.
The main benefit of the Wildlife Offers are their simplicity and relatively quick application process.
Higher-Tier Stewardship is for land that requires more complex management tailored to the individual site. It provides grant payments and support to those areas that are most environmentally sensitive, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), commons and woodland.
We can help to review your suitability for Higher Tier Stewardship and guide you in the process of preparing an initial application. Once through the initial application phase, Natural England will work with you to develop a final application based upon site-specifics.
With our wealth of experience across the full range of Countryside Stewardship schemes, we can guide you through the rules and regulations to focus on producing a practical and achievable outcome.
Example Countryside Stewardship options
||Winter bird food
||Supplementary winter feeding for birds
||Two-year legume mix
||Management of hedgerows
||Permanent grassland with very low inputs
||Maintenance of traditional farm buildings
||4-6m grass buffer strip
||Buffering ponds and ditches on arable land
Countryside Stewardship Capital Grants scheme
New in 2021, the Capital Grant scheme brings together the Countryside Stewardship Water Quality and Hedgerows and Boundaries grants.
The scheme offers one-off payments for a whole range of capital items such as planting new hedges, hedge laying or coppicing, fencing, resurfacing gateways, sprayer washdown areas and hardcore tracks.
There will be annual start dates for capital grant agreements in 2022, 2023 and 2024, and there is a maximum grant level of £60,000 per application.
There are over 60 Capital Grant options to choose from, including some examples listed below:
||Planting new hedges
||Resurfacing of gateways
||Livestock and machinery hardcore track
There are several grants and other incentives available for woodland creation, tree maintenance and tree health. We can guide you through the processes to ensure your woodland scheme achieves what you want it to whilst fulfilling the funding criteria.
Incentive schemes on offer include:
- Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG)
- England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) or Woodland Creation Grant (WCG)
- Woodland Carbon Code
- Woodland Carbon Guarantee
- Woodland Management Planning Grant
- Woodland Tree Health
Woodland creation grants are of particular interest, with the recently-launched England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) providing an attractive level of support to create new farm woodland, with a minimum total area of 1 hectare required per application. This can be made up of smaller blocks of tree planting, and offers:
- Capital payments to support the initial purchase of your trees, guards and fencing.
- 10 years of annual maintenance payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete
- Ability to continue claiming payments via the Basic Payment scheme, subject to eligibility
- Option to register your new woodland with the Woodland Carbon Code to enable the sale of your woodland carbon units
Find more information about Rural grants and subsidies here.