Natural England “Offers” Simplified Stewardship Scheme

Natural England “Offers” Simplified Stewardship Scheme

Starting in January 2018 a new form of Countryside Stewardship known as “Offers” will be introduced by Natural England. These have largely been created in answer to criticism over the over complicated Mid and Higher Tier Schemes, although these will remain available for more complex applications.
There are four new offers – Online Arable Offer, Lowland Grazing Offer, Upland Offer and Mixed Farming Offer – each will provide tailored options covering a range of different farm types.
In addition the existing Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant will also receive greater funding from 2018, with farmers and land managers able to apply for a maximum grant of £10,000, up from £5,000 in previous application rounds.
In theory paperwork for the new offers will be quicker and easier to get through, due to streamlined evidence checks and shorter application forms. The scheme is also non-competitive, meaning that all farmers who meet the eligibility requirements can get an agreement to deliver as few as 3 options, or as many as 7 up to 14, depending on the “offer” applied for.
The changes which many will see as a return to the previous ELS/UELS type application should be of particular interest to those in the uplands who were previously offered very little by the new Mid-Tier stewardship route.
For further information please contact the office.