Guidance: Higher Tier: Countryside Stewardship

Updated: Information updated following application deadline.

Applications for Higher Tier closed on 3 May 2019.

Use the manual to understand:

the payments you could receive and how this scheme benefits the environment eligibility requirements the rules and conditions

Use the CS grant finder:

to understand the rules for the options, supplements and capital items for advice on how to carry them out.

Use the conversion guidance if:

you’re in the final year of an Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement and want to put the land into a Higher Tier agreement there’s a risk of environmental decline to a site caused by loss of management between the end of your ES agreement and the start of a Higher Tier agreement.

The manual has portrait and landscape pages. Before printing, select ‘auto rotate’ in your printer settings.

Overlap of Countryside Stewardship (CS) options with Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) in 2019

You can no longer overlap the following CS options with EFAs declared on your Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2019 application:

AB1 Nectar flower mix AB3 Beetle banks AB4 Skylark plots AB5 Nesting plots for lapwing and stone curlew AB6 Enhanced overwinter stubble AB8 Flower rich margins and plots AB9 Winter bird food AB11 Cultivated areas for arable plants AB15 Two year sown legume fallow AB16 Autumn sown bumblebird mix HS2 Take historic and archaeological features out of cultivation OP2 Organic wild bird seed mixture SW1 4 to 6 metre buffer strip on cultivated land SW3 In-field grass strips SW4 12 to 24 metre watercourse buffer strips on cultivated land SW6 Winter cover crops SW12 Making space for water WD3 Woodland edges on arable land WT2 Buffering in-field ponds and ditches on arable land

This is to avoid funding the same activity on the same land parcel under both CS and BPS, known as ‘double funding’. You can continue to place CS options and EFAs in the same land parcel but they cannot overlap.

In 2019, your Ecological Focus Area (EFA) cover crops must be established by 1 October 2019 and retained until at least 15 January 2020. The Rural Payments Agency will not consider the retention of the EFA cover crops as an overlap with 1 January 2020 CS agreements. This assumes you’ll move the cover crops to a different location in 2020.

Hedges can be used for EFA and for Entry Level Stewardship, Higher Level Stewardship and CS options without payment deductions.

Find out more about CS funding


Wildlife Offers for information on the 4 new CS Offers for Wildlife for 2018 Countryside Stewardship for details of other funding Rural Payments Agency

(Countryside Stewardship) PO Box 324 Worksop S95 1DF


Tel: 03000 200 301

Opening times: 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)Find out about call charges at

seen at 18:34, 15 May in Publications on GOV.UK.
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