Environmental stewardship

Environmental stewardship

The Rural Development Programme for England has secured £2.9
billion of Environmental Stewardship (ES) funding for the period

This agri-environment scheme is administered by Natural England
and encourages farmers and land managers in England to deliver
effective environmental management on their land.

The objectives of Environmental Stewardship are to:

  • Conserve biodiversity
  • Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
  • Protect the historic environment and natural resources
  • Promote public access and understanding of the countryside

Environmental Stewardship has three elements:

Entry Level Stewardship (ELS)

ELS is open to all farmers and landowners
and encourages them to deliver simple yet effective environmental
management. There are a wide range of options to choose from
including hedgerow management, stone wall maintenance, buffer
strips and arable options, to suit all farming. The scheme offers a
guaranteed payment of £30 per hectare every six months for five

Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS)

OELS is open to all farms where land is either fully organic or
‘in conversion’ to organic farming methods. It also includes a wide
range of management options to choose from, including enhanced
hedgerow management, buffer strips on intensive grassland and
management of field corners. The scheme offers a guaranteed payment
of £60 per hectare every six months for five years.

Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)

HLS aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in
high-priority situations and areas. In the South West there are 26
Target Areas (TAs) covering over 1.2 million hectares, although
priority features found outside the TAs also qualify for farm
payments under the scheme. Unlike ELS and OELS entry into the
scheme is discretionary. HLS applications require preparation of a
Farm Environmental Plan and are assessed by taking into account how
the application meets the environmental priorities identified in
the local area. A wide range of management options are available
and payments made every six months over a ten year period relate to
the options chosen.

Further information and contacts

For information before applying or to request an application
form, speak to a Natural England Adviser on 0300 060 1118. More
information on all Environmental Stewardship schemes can be found
on the
Natural England website