MP urges farmers to apply for countryside stewardship scheme
Originally published by Tim Farron
South Lakes MP Tim Farron is urging farmers to sign up to the newCountryside Stewardship scheme. His call came after this afternoon's meeting of the cross party All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming which he chairs.
Yesterday the government announced the Countryside Stewardship scheme, which is the new environmental land management scheme as part of the Common Agricultural Policy funding system.
The Countryside Stewardship scheme will contribute around £900 million to rural businesses to help them improve the countryside environment. It will be open to all eligible farmers, land managers, land owners and tenants. It will replace:
- Environmental Stewardship scheme (ES)
- The English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS)
- Capital grants from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme
The main priority for the Countryside Stewardship scheme is biodiversity. Water quality is another important priority. The scheme will also help to improve:
- flood management
- the historic environment
- landscape character
- genetic conservation
- educational access
- climate change adaptation and mitigation
Defra currently plan that farmers and land managers can start applying for the Countryside Stewardship scheme from July 2015. Agreements and payments will begin in 2016.
According to the Farmers Guardian, 'Farmers will in many cases be required to do more to earn payments than they do under Entry Level Stewardship (ELS). This is partly the result of the introduction of greening under Pillar One of the new CAP and the requirement to ensure there is no 'double funding' for the same measures.'
Tim said: "I would urge people to look, apply and take up the scheme and also to let me know if they encounter any problems given it's a new scheme.
The Countryside Stewardship scheme is an opportunity for farmers but we will have to monitor its progress carefully to ensure that farmers truly benefit from it."