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Simpson Towler undertakes applications for the entry level stewardship scheme and the higher level stewardship scheme in Cumbria, the Lake District National Park, Northumberland and Durham;

The Environmental Stewardship Scheme is the central pillar of the Government's programme for giving continuing financial support to the farming and rural communities. It is a conservation scheme that seeks to obtain environmental and other public benefits in return for annual payments.

There are two strands to the scheme - the Entry Level Stewardship Scheme (ELS) and Higher Level Stewardship (HLS). From 2010, there is a subsidiary element to ELS, this being the new Upland Entry Level Stewardship (UELS).

Entry Level Stewardship
ELS is a points-based scheme that runs for five years and offers farmers set payments per hectare in return for carrying out simple conservation tasks. Farmers choose the tasks they think that they can undertake from a range of choices. It is often possible to include established farming and land management practices within an ELS application. Farmers who are in an existing ESA scheme plan or Countryside Stewardship Scheme cannot enter ELS until their current schemes have ended.

Simpson Towler offers practical advice on the scheme options that best suit your farming plans and can complete the application forms and submit the papers.

the HLS handbook cover

Upland Entry Level Stewardship
UELS replaces the Hill Farming Allowance and is open for applications. It is available to farmers in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDAs) and pays farmers for positive environmental management by means of achieving a points target for the holding through selection from a range of management options. It can be run along side existing ELS and HLS schemes but farmers who are currently disqualified because of ESA and Countryside Stewardship plans can apply for the Upland Transitional Payment. Payments vary depending on whether the land is above or below the Moorland Line. The first agreements will take effect from July 2010

Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) replaces ESA schemes and Countryside Stewardship and covers wider areas of the country. Acceptance onto HLS is discretionary and a carefully constructed application is necessary to secure funding. Agreements run for 10 years. The preparation of a Farm Environmental Plan is a preliminary requirement for all applications. We are able to

(a) Assess your Holding and recommend the choices to optimise your income without compromising the environmental benefits that HLS is intended to produce;


(b) Prepare a Farm Environmental Plan (FEP) as an application preliminary. The scheme pays a significant sum towards the cost of the preparation of an acceptable FEP;


(c) Complete and submit the HLS application for you;


(d) Negotiate the best solution with Natural England for you.

If you would like more information on any aspects of these schemes or assistance with any aspect of an application, please contact Richard Towler.

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