The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) enrolment is still available. The deadline for the last applications will be in 2023, with a commencement date for the final schemes in January 2024. Defra has confirmed that all CSS agreement holders with a post-2020 scheme start date will be able to surrender their agreements in favour of incoming Environmental Land Management Schemes, without incurring any penalties.
Capital Grants Scheme
Alongside CSS, farmers can continue to apply for capital grants throughout 2023, with agreement lengths being capped at a maximum of three years. Capital grants have been split into the following categories:
- Boundaries, trees and orchards
- Water quality
- Air quality
- Natural flood management
Payment rates on average for Countryside Stewardship increased by around 30% for agreements starting on 1 January 2022 and a further 10% for new agreements starting on 1 January 2023.
Across these 4 categories there are 70 capital items available ranging from fencing to concrete yard renewal.
The application process will be rolling until the funding that has been allocated runs out so there is no deadline for application for these agreements yet but early engagement is encouraged.
The application process will be open to anyone with control of land, and where all activities meet the obligations of the grant.
- Capital items which require support from Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers are now available in high, medium and low priority areas for water and air quality.
- A new Natural Flood Management has been created to offer new capital items for Disruption of Tramlines, Small and Large Leaky Dams.
The Facilitation Fund helped groups of farmers, land managers and other environmental stakeholders to improve their natural environment. Typically, groups of farmers will prioritise one or two environmental issues that directly affect their holdings – for example water quality or farmland bird habitats. The funding provides the group with a third-party facilitator who assists in the running of the group, organising informative events and coordinating environmental activities on a landscape scale. This is now closed, with a new round expected in late 2023.