The next round of Countryside Stewardship will open for applications on March 14, Natural England has announced.
The 2016 application window for the Higher-tier and Mid-tier of the Countryside Stewardship scheme will be open earlier, and for longer, than in 2015. The new window extends from March 14 until 30 September.
Other important dates for Countryside Stewardship application windows in 2016 are summarised in this timeline.
New and improved guidance material will be available in mid-March, including an online option selection tool, which makes it easier for applicants to choose the right high scoring options for their applications.
Natural England’s Chief Operating Officer, Guy Thompson, said:
Taking on board the lessons learned from last year and the feedback we’ve received, we’ve made a number of improvements to Countryside Stewardship this year. Applicants will have more time to develop their agreements and better information to help them.
We’re working to make it as simple as possible for farmers to apply, while still making sure this targeted scheme makes the biggest possible difference to our environment.
Countryside Stewardship is a competitive scheme, with £900 million of new funding going towards projects to restore habitats, improve water quality and woodland, reduce flood risk, protect landscapes, and provide year-round food and shelter for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
Natural England encourages farmers, foresters, and land managers to apply.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk/countrysidestewardship