Statutory environmental (or agri-environment) funding incentivises landowners to sustainably manage their environment. Landowners receive revenue and capital grant funding in order to manage their land to an agreed standard. Statutory environmental funding tends (although not exclusively) to be targeted toward farms and extensively managed sites. Statutory environmental funding has a number of objectives including:
Eligibility for grants is dependent on the registration of the land with the Rural Land Registry and the environmental management options that can be provided by your site. Management options include:
In some cases, capital funding may be available for items including: Fencing, dyke reprofiling, tree surgery and wetland and heathland restoration projects.
Statutory environmental funding is administered differently in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In England, Natural England administers two different schemes for environmental stewardship. Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) is open to all landowners in England and is intended to support effective land management. The ELS also includes discrete strands for organic farming and for upland hill farming. These are five year agreements between Natural England and the land owner. The Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) involves more complex types of management and agreements are tor ten years. Before a land owner can apply for Environmental Stewardship the land must be registered in the Rural Payment Agency’s (RPA) Rural Land Register (RLR).
The Scottish agri-environmental schemes are not open to new applicants. The schemes are funded by the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
In Wales the current agri-environmental scheme is called Glastir. It is a five year scheme to combat climate change, improve water management and maintain and enhance biodiversity.
Northern Ireland currently has two agri-environment schemes administered by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme (NICMS) and Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) both aim to enhance the environment.
The full details and eligibility criteria for the statutory environmental schemes are on the relevant agencies website.
Does your site have agricultural uses, is it extensively managed?
Does your site have significant environmental value? (e.g. is it a designated site?)
Is the management of the site consistent with Agri-environment objectives?
Can receive funding for land management that you would be doing anyway.
Provides clarity and guidance on the best way to manage your land.
England - http://www.naturalengland.gov.uk/ourwork/farming/funding/es/default.aspx
Scotland - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/Environment/Agrienvironment
Northern Ireland - http://www.dardni.gov.uk/index/grants-and-funding/agri-environmental-schemes.htm
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