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Protection of environment will play key future role

Farming | Published:

With the deadline for Basic Payment Scheme Applications in 2019 behind us, we at Madeleys are now focusing our attention on the completion of the Countryside Stewardship application process.

Alasdair Barne MRICS, Director of Madeleys Chartered Surveyors

The Countryside Stewardship scheme gives incentives for land managers to look after their environment and is made up of the following elements:

Mid-tier scheme, which provides a wide range of options and capital items, which are developed to deliver a broad range of environmental benefits. There are four wildlife offers provided, similar to the options provided in the mid-tier scheme, but there are no capital options under these programmes. The wildlife offers are: arable, lower grazing, upland, and mixed farming.

The idea behind the wildlife offers is that they are designed to help farmers choose the correct options for their farmland and to make it easier and simpler for a Countryside Stewardship agreement on these holdings.

Standalone water capital grants are two-year agreements and provide funding to improve water quality in high water quality areas.

Other grants include the Woodland Management Plan and Woodland Creation Grants, along with a Felicitation Fund which supports individuals and organisations working with local groups of farmers and land managers to co-ordinate their environmental land management.

The positives of the mid-tier scheme, in particular, have seen clients complete a wide range of capital items such as fencing, gate work, hedge laying and planting, as well as renewal of concrete in existing yards, which all have a direct benefit, not only to the environment but also for the holdings themselves.

Countryside Stewardship applications had to be requested from the Rural Payments Agency by May 31 and the full pack has to be submitted to the Rural Payments Agency by July 31.

With the recently released publication issued by the UK Government on the future of agriculture and the Basic Payment Scheme, one of the main points, which is continually mentioned and discussed, is the management and protection of the environment.

We believe that this is an element that is going to play a key role in future subsidy payments. With a number of the Countryside Stewardship schemes guaranteed for five years, this would potentially stand land owners in an excellent position with what road lies ahead.

Alasdair Barne MRICS, Director of Madeleys Chartered Surveyors, Much Wenlock

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