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Countryside Stewardship opens for business


Countryside Stewardship opened its doors for the second year yesterday (March 14, 2016).

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As of yesterday, farmers and land managers can apply for the mid and higher tiers of Countryside Stewardship.


After a turbulent start to the scheme, Natural England have made a number of improvements for the 2016 roll out.




These changes include an earlier and longer application window than 2015, running from March 14 to September 30.


New and improved guidance material has also been produced for those considering applying for the scheme. This guidance has been designed in consultation with industry so it is clearer and better meets farmers’ needs.


Protecting and improving landscapes


Guy Thompson, Natural England’s Chief Operating Officer, said:


“Through Countryside Stewardship, farmers and land managers have an important role to play in protecting and improving England’s diverse landscapes and the wildlife that inhabit them.


“We’ve taken on board the lessons learned from last year and the feedback we’ve received along the way from farmers, and have made a number of improvements to Countryside Stewardship. Applicants will now have more time to develop their agreements and better information to help them.


“Countryside Stewardship funding goes towards projects that will make the biggest possible difference to the environment and we look forward to seeing what the year ahead will bring.”



The Mid Tier of Countryside Stewardship offers five-year agreements for environmental improvements in the wider countryside, such as reducing diffuse water pollution or improving the environment for birds, pollinators and farm wildlife.


Higher Tier specifically focuses on environmentally important sites, including commons and woodlands, where the more complex management requires support from Natural England or the Forestry Commission, including tailoring of options.






  • Application packs can be requested from Natural England by calling 0300 060 3900
  • Those thinking of applying for the Higher Tier, including woodland support, will need to have submitted an initial application by April 30
  • Mid Tier application packs will need to be requested no later than August 31 so Natural England can send out the maps and evidence requirements in time for farmers to develop their application
  • Applications are to be submitted by September 30

FG Insight Grant Checker

FG Insight Grant Checker

Grant Checker is an online tool that allows you to look up and research agricultural grants, loans and scholarships available to you as a farmer.


You can access the Grant Checker via your desktop computer, tablet or a mobile device to search grants based on your location and age.


For more information about this, and other grants available to you, visit FG Insight's Grant Checker by clicking here.

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