This is a summary of the recent updates to the Countryside Stewardship capital payments rates. For the full update click here

Please find below an update on the position with CS capital grant rate changes, credit has to be given to the RPA for their work to make this happen and taking feedback from farmers and stakeholders to the Minister and their special advisers. There were apparently a series of regulatory and administrative challenges in making these changes, but these have been resolved and changes agreed as below. As one stakeholder put it this is one of the “pangs of transition to a new regime” the RPA has taken a pragmatic approach to resolving the issue quickly in response to feedback.

The RPA will be writing to all agreement holders early next week. 


For agreements starting from 1st January 2023:

  • The updated capital grant rates will apply to all new agreements starting from the 1st Jan 2023. This includes all HT, MT, SFI, SFI pilot and CS standalone capital grants. The same principle will apply to FiPL agreements that are based on CS rates.

  • Where capital grant rates have decreased agreements sent out for 1st Jan 2023 starts will remain as they were offered. Decreases will only apply to new applications.

  • As the RPA had not prepared for this change it will take them a couple of months to set up the administrative process to update agreements, any claims submitted before these changes are made will be paid at the previous rate and a top-up payment made later.


For agreements starting prior to 1st January 2023:

  • Agreements will remain unchanged.

  • Agreement holders can request to withdraw existing agreements and reapply or remove individual items from their agreement and apply for a standalone capital grant. (applicants will need to consider ceilings on standalone grants, see below. Also, not all items available in standalone i.e. fencing of hedges.)

  • Capital items that have been partly claimed or materials purchased cannot be withdrawn.

  • Any consents or endorsements required for capital items will need to be requested again. For capital grants requiring NE Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer approval, if those applications are withdrawn and re-submitted in order to benefit from the updating of the payment rates (note that currently grant ceilings are unchanged and therefore larger projects close to the ceilings may not benefit from reapplying, this situation may changes if ceilings change):
    • So long as no changes have been made that alter the basis of the approval, applicants can re-submit their previous CSF approval with the new application.  
    • If a new approval would be required, NE has said that, for work management purposes, they will not re-approve CS applications already submitted and approved, unless they can see a positive environmental justification for the change.


Unresolved issues

  • The ceilings on capital grant applications remain unchanged. This is under review and further updates are expected.

  • Threshold for accountants letter also remains unchanged but may be reviewed.

  • The claim forms online show the new grant rates for all agreements, this is an error which the RPA are aware of and working to resolve.