Environmental Stewardship Scheme

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th March 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they intend to provide to Higher Level Stewardship agreement holders to ensure a smooth transition to the Environmental Land Management Scheme.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There are a range of options being provided to help farmers continue to manage their land sustainably and prepare to take part in new schemes as they are introduced.

Defra will be offering certain Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement holders the opportunity to extend their agreements as their existing agreements expire, if they wish to do so and meet the extension criteria. The criteria ensure that the agreements continue to deliver positive environmental outcomes and protect our Priority Habitats and SSSIs.

Additionally, it is now possible for HLS agreement holders to apply for the Countryside Stewardship Capital grants offer alongside their HLS agreement, where they wish to undertake new works. Alternatively, agreement holders can apply for a new five-year Countryside Stewardship agreement if they want to make changes to their land management options.

These opportunities will help to bridge the gap between current agreements and the start of the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes, ensuring a continuation of both environmental benefits, and funding for agreement holders.

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