Deadlines for all Mid Tier and New CS Offers for Wildlife

  • 31st May 2018 - Last date to request an application pack from Natural England
  • 31st May 2018 -  Last day to request a visit/approval for specific items from your Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO) and/or contact Natural England for approval to use one of the 9 new options
  • 31st July 2018 - Application period close. Completed application and ALL evidence returned to Natural England

Requesting an application pack
The deadline for requesting Countryside Stewardship application packs is close. You have until 31st May to request a pack for 2018 applications by completing and returning an application request form which can be downloaded from this link.

When completing the application request form you have the option to request an electronic application pack. If you are able to use word and excel we recommend getting an electronic pack as the forms are much easier to complete. You can request that the maps are posted to you if you do not have access to an A3 printer.
The following information is a description of what you will find included in your application pack and some key points to consider to help with option selection and completing your application.

Receiving a pack
The application pack should arrive within 5 working days and an Historic Environment Farm Environmental Record (HEFER) within 20 working days. The HEFER is a search of the known historical features on your farm it provides recommendations on the options you may wish to consider using on these features.
The pack will contain:  

    A covering letter
    A simple Mid-Tier application form
    Annexes for recording option choice
    A blank options map
    A blank Farm Environment Record (FER) map (which looks the same as the ELS FER map)
    A Environmental Information Map and report
    Guidance to complete the Mid-Tier application form

An electronic application pack is the easiest way to receive and work with the information required and will enable you to make changes throughout the application process. If you request an electronic pack and state you can’t print A3 then the maps will be posted and application emailed.

Once you have your pack check that the details received are correct for every field. An RPA field number is required where an option or capital item will be situated, this includes farmyards and traditional buildings. If new fields need registering submit a RLE1 form to the RPA Additional fields can be drawn onto your maps and added to the annexes using the details put on your RLE1 and a new application pack is not required.

If any of the land is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) applicants will receive a follow up call from a Natural England advisor to discuss any consenting requirements of the SSSI.

Remember, application forms will only be accepted by Natural England if they are submitted on pre-populated forms requested from and provided by Natural England.

Start to choose your options, supplements and capital grants.

  • The online options tool will help you to find each option, supplement and capital work quickly and look through what is required for each. Alternatively use the manual (found here) to choose options. Check what supporting documents (including permissions, consents and supporting evidence) are required for each option, supplement and capital work. You will find this is in the prescription for each option and capital item.
  • Priority statements for species and habitats in your area can be found here ( along with instructions on how to use the targeting priorities map.
  • Within your RPA login there is a Countryside Stewardship Option Finder Tool in the Countryside Stewardship section. This questionnaire will guide you through the high priority options you may wish to consider.

Magic Maps
Magic Maps is Natural England’s online mapping tool which provides information on designations such as SSSI’s and Scheduled Monuments. On Magic you will find the Countryside Stewardship targeting and scoring layers for habitats and species. You should use this information to include options within your application that are targeted to the area in which you farm. Certain options will only be eligible if the relevant layers are shown on MAGIC, this is described within the individual option prescription.

The following link provides guidance on how to use Magic maps to get information about priority habitats and species and water quality.

Historic Environment Farm Environmental Record (HEFER)
All Mid-Tier applicants will receive free additional information about the archaeological features on their land in the form of a HEFER. This does not apply to applicants for the New SC Offers for Wildlife, as they don’t require a HEFER. The information provided by Natural England is obtained from Historic Environment organisations.

If you have opted to receive your pack online it is your responsibility to download the information from the link below. Allow 20 working days to receive an email notification from the SHINE portal to indicate a completed HEFER response is available from Applicants who requested packs on paper will receive the information by post. Use the information provided from the HEFER consultation to choose appropriate multi-year options and capital items. The information should be added to your FER.

RPA mapping - hedges and new field parcels
The RPA has recently included hedge mapping within their assessment of your farm. Log in to your RPA to check the changes on each parcel. In order to apply for capital works relating to boundaries or options and supplements linked to hedges, the length of hedge and situation of hedge you apply against must match the records held by RPA. You need to ensure that the new hedge mapping is correct and should submit an RLE1 to make any corrections. The current advice is to submit your application with the hedge length and situations which you consider to be correct and then submit a matching RLE1.

If you are considering any yard works or traditional building maintenance options these need to be located with a registered field parcel and will require an RLE1 to register a new field parcel.

This link provides guidance on how to check and change your hedge information and also provides the RLE1 form and guidance.
If you would like some more information please contact FWAG SW on 01823 660684 or email [email protected]