Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th April 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreements Natural England plans to support in 2019; and how that figure compares with the level of ambition set out for the scheme in 2015.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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.

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