When Countryside Stewardship was launched in 2015 Defra and Natural England set an ambition of delivering 500 new Higher Tier agreements each year.
There have been four agreement rounds since then and there are currently 2,253 live Higher Tier agreements plus a further 782 woodland only agreements. Therefore, the ambition has been exceeded. For the current 2019/20 year the ambition is to deliver 400 new agreements. In addition to this we are extending a number of the expiring Environmental Stewardship Higher Level Stewardship agreements which are performing well in terms of meeting their environmental outcomes in Priority Habitat and Site of Special Scientific Interest areas.