Now is the time to apply for Countryside Stewardship

A month before the application window closes, land managers are being urged to apply for 2017 Countryside Stewardship agreements.

The CLA, which represents and advises landowners, farmers and rural businesses, says that the environmental land management scheme is too important to be derailed by the current lack of clarity from Government on some aspects of its future.

To meet the application window deadline for 2017 agreements, applicants must have requested an application pack for the ‘Mid Tier’ element of the scheme by the end of August and submit their application by the end of September.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “The Treasury announcement earlier this month has provided much-needed reassurance that the Government is committed to honouring agri-environment agreements next year. There are still some areas of clarification that we are working with Government to iron out, but land managers should press on with submitting their applications for 2017 agreements in good time for the end of September deadline. The environmental outcomes that will be delivered under these schemes are too important to be lost.

“While Government has shown its commitment to next year’s Countryside Stewardship, the status of agri-environment schemes beyond 2017 remains uncertain. In the run up to the Autumn Statement the CLA will be making the case for the Government to continue to fund Countryside Stewardship up to 2020. By pressing on with applications for programmes of work under next year’s scheme, land managers will very clearly demonstrate their appetite for delivering this crucial work to Government. A high volume of strong applications in the next month will highlight all that would be lost if fully-funded agri-environment schemes are not maintained as part of the domestic food, farming and environmental policy that must be established before the UK exits the EU.”

CLA members can contact the CLA for guidance on submitting their application.

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