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The new Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme opened on the 1st July 2015.  CS replaces Environmental Stewardship, the English Woodland Grant Scheme and Catchment Sensitive Farming.

Countryside Stewardship comprises of three elements:

• Mid Tier – multi-year agreements for environmental improvements in the wider countryside
• Higher Tier – multi-year agreements for environmentally significant sites such as SSSIs, common land and woodlands
• Capital Grants – a range of one to two year grants for hedgerows and boundaries, improving water quality, and woodland management plans and tree health.

Unlike Environmental Stewardship, CS is competitive and applications will be scored based on the environmental priorities for your area.  This will depend upon which National Character Area (NCA) you are in.  If you would like to know what the statement of priorities are for your area then please contact us.  Only the highest scoring applications will be selected for CS.

If you are already in an Environmental Stewardship scheme that expires after 2015 then you will not be invited to apply for CS until the year of expiry, but for those whose schemes expire this year, or those not already in Environmental Stewardship then you can apply this year.  The deadline for application is 30th September 2015 and the agreement would start on 1st January 2016.  If you find you are unsuccessful this year you can apply again next year.

If you have any queries regarding Countryside Stewardship or you would like help with an application then please do not hesitate to contact Sally Nicholls on 01237 472 725.