Launched in 2015 with the first agreement start dates scheduled for 1st January 2016. Agreements provide payments in return for farmers and land managers delivering environmental and public benefits.
The scheme is split into three tiers and unlike Environmental Stewardship access to all three tiers is competitive –
The application window for both Higher and Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship opens on the 15th January and closes on the 31st July.
Priorities focus primarily on biodiversity, The Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package is central to the scheme, and water quality. Emphasis is also placed on flood management, the historic environment, landscape character, genetic conservation and educational access. The majority of Mid and Higher tier agreements will run for five year terms.