Countryside Stewardship – Increased Payment Rates

At the Oxford Farming Conference last week Defra Minister Mark Spencer announced that revenue payment rates under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme will be increased in most cases by an average of 10%. These changes will apply to all new and existing mid-tier and higher tier agreements from 1st January 2023 and can be viewed here Revenue options payment rate changes from 1 January 2023 – GOV.UK (

From 2024 revenue payments will be reviewed routinely to ensure market conditions are reflected in the payments received.

Payments received for capital options have also been reviewed and the revised payments will apply to new Countryside Stewardship Agreements from 5th January 2023. Click here to see the revised payment rates Capital items payment rate changes from 1 January 2023 – GOV.UK ( .

Opportunities for new applications

2023 marks the final year for applications under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CS). We would be happy to review options available to you under this scheme so please do not hesitate to be in touch with us on 01904 489731.

  • Mid-tier Capital grants are open now for applications. Grants of up to £20,000 for each category are available. The categories are: boundaries, trees and orchards, water quality, air quality and natural flood management are available.
  • Higher-tier Capital grants are open now. These work alongside existing HT agreements and run for 3 years.
  • Woodland Management Plan (WMP) grants are open now. This is a one-off payment to create a 10 year woodland management plan.
  • Woodland Tree Health grants are open now for applications. These assist with restocking/ improving woodland after tree health problems.
  • Applications for Mid-tier, Higher-tier Agreements will be open later this year. These are 5-year schemes comprising a combination of revenue and capital items which often work well with your current farming practice as well as providing environmental benefits.
  • Wildlife offers will open again later this year for applications.

Opportunities for Higher Level Stewardship Agreement Holders from 2023

Lots of Higher-Level Stewardship (HLS) Agreements will expire in the next year or so. If your scheme is due to expire it is important you review the options available to you as often these schemes are well rewarded financially and in terms of delivering for the environment.

For the most part HLS agreement holders with agreements expiring in 2023 or 2024 will be able to extend their agreements by 5 years, which is welcome news.

The RPA have also announced that some HLS agreement holders will be able to apply for a range of CS Capital grants, a CS agreement or a Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) agreement, while keeping their existing HLS agreement.

If HLS agreement holders who wish to leave HLS early will be able to do so without any penalty, if they successfully apply for a CS agreement starting January 2024 or another new land management scheme starting after January 2023. The new agreement would need to offer equivalent or greater environmental benefits than the HLS agreement, but this gives farmers some additional flexibility.

Please call us if your current scheme is due to expire to discuss your requirements 01904 489731.

Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) – Update

Applications are still being invited for the SFI.

The SFI will now offer a Management Payment of £20 per ha for up to 50 ha of land entered into the scheme. It is hoped that this will make the SFI more financially attractive by offering up to £1000 per annum to cover the administration costs associated with the scheme, and in particular will attract smaller farms into the scheme. For those already in the scheme, this payment will be applied from now onwards.

Further information on the new management standards to be introduced to the SFI will be released in due course and it is hoped that these will make the scheme more financially viable for farmers.

Please contact is if you are interested in the SFI or have any queries regarding your existing scheme.


Alice Hood BA (Hons) Pg Dip MRICS FAAV

07758 214870

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