There are four main elements to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. If you can commit to a five- or ten-year programme, then the Mid and Higher Tier elements of CS offer the ability for farmers and land-owners to take on more obligations and options than are available under the other elements. These elements come (potentially) with the scope to undertake unlimited capital works programmes.
For many businesses however, commitment to this type of long-term programme may not be either practical or desirable. Therefore, the capital grants element of the CS scheme such as the Water Capital Grant (WCG) Scheme and the Hedgerow and Boundary Grant (HBG) Scheme may be more attractive.
Examples of how these grants can be used include: helping to improve clean and dirty water separation in the farm yard (WCG) and re-building walls or re-invigorating hedgerows around the farm (HBG). Both schemes have a grant ceiling of £10,000 per application and the work has to be completed within a two-year period.
If you are considering submitting an application including elements of capital works for water quality under either Mid-Tier CS or a Water Capital Grant then it is important to check if the farm is located in a High Water Quality Priority area such as the River Eden catchment.
Woodland Creation Schemes under CS can be applied for on a monthly basis and offer opportunities for shelter belt or habitat creation around the farm. The new Offers for Wildlife under CS may be more attractive for some businesses as it allows them to manage parcels of land to benefit wildlife through a tailored suite of options with a simplified application process. Please note, capital works are excluded from these elements.