The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced what the future of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) holds for farmers and landowners.

Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI)

In summer 2023, DEFRA will introduce 6 additional standards, which will incorporate elements of Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) management options so that both schemes can be used and integrated with one another.

New Standards:

  • Hedgerow Management
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Nutrient Management
  • Low/no input Grassland
  • Improved Grassland
  • Arable and Horticultural Land

SFI applications can be made all year round.

Countryside Stewardship (CS)

From 2024, an enhanced version of CSS will replace the proposed ‘Local Nature Recovery’. An additional 30 options will be introduced to offer a more targeted scheme with the aim to encourage sustainable land management and farming practices. A number of Higher Tier options will be available to Mid-Tier applicants, as well as increased Mid Tier options available to Wildlife Offer applicants. CSS will also incorporate the English Woodland Creation Offer in time, therefore simplifying the application process.

CSS Applications Open:

Higher Tier – February 2023

Mid-Tier and Wildlife Offers – March 2023

Countryside Stewardship Plus

As an additional scheme, Countryside Stewardship Plus will offer funding to landowners and farmers to unite with neighbouring farmers and landowners to deliver collaborative activities that enhance biodiversity and carbon capture. Further guidance has not yet been released.

If you have any queries regarding CSS or SFI, your eligibility criteria or submitting an application, please contact our professional teams below.

Offices in BattleHaywards HeathPulborough and Tunbridge Wells.