Natural England has recently published the Countryside Stewardship Manual in order to provide farmers with detailed guidance to assist with applications for the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme, operating under the Rural Development Programme for England.
Issues addressed by the manual include:-
1. Eligibility requirements for land and applications
2. Further information on organic conversion and management applications
3. Details of the relationship between Countryside Stewardship and other sources of funding.
4. Practical guidance on the application process
Clients should note, in particular:
- The absence of a decision on ‘dual use’ in relation to Countryside Stewardship. Dual use being where two farmers claim different Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidiaries at the same time from the same land, i.e. a landlord claiming for Countryside Stewardship, while their tenant claims the Basic Payment Scheme payment. The decision on dual use is noteworthy, as it may well affect a landlord’s eligibility to apply for Countryside Stewardship. Further information on ‘dual use’ is due to be supplied later this summer.
- A change in the deadline originally announced for stand-alone capital grants relating to the woodland tree health and woodland management plans (originally due 30 June 2015). It is now possible to apply for these grants all year round.
- Natural England has also published two further papers detailing the payments, rates and requirements for capital items and annual management options and supplements.
A copy of the Countryside Stewardship Manual may be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-stewardship-manual
If you need legal assistance regarding the Countryside Stewardship Manual then please contact our agriculture solictors on 0161 941 400 or alternatively you can use the enquiry form found on the right of this page.