Published in support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for black grouse

Payments for black grouse management in England

There are three main sources of government grant to assist the management of moorland and adjacent rough grazing land:

Environmental Stewardship
Environmental Stewardship (ES) is the Natural England administered English agri-environment scheme. It provides funding to farmers and other land managers who deliver effective environmental management on their land. In the uplands, can offer payments for agreed levels of grazing that encourage longer vegetation, maintain areas of rough grazing and hay meadows and pastures. Payments for capital works such as small-scale tree planting and wall repairs are also available.

Entry-Level Stewardship (ELS) is the baseline strand of ES. It is a whole farm scheme which pays land managers £30 a hectare (or £8 a hectare for units of 15ha or over in the Less Favoured Area) for delivering a range of simple environmental measures on their farm. All applicants are guaranteed an agreement, provided they meet the point threshold.

Higher-Level Stewardship (HLS) is the more complex strand of ES, which sits above ELS. Land managers are paid non-fixed amounts dependent on the options taken up. The scheme is competitive and only those applications which best meet regional environmental priorities, including biodiversity and priority bird species, are accepted.

Full details and guidance on how to apply can be found on the defra website.

Hill Farm Allowance
Farms in the LFA currently receive grants under the Hill Farm Allowance. This scheme is currently under review, and is likely to change from 2010. Defra intend to incorporate this scheme into Environmental Stewardship, most likely as an additional upland strand of ELS.

Classic Schemes
Although all classic schemes including Countryside Stewardship (CSS), and Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) are closed to new applicants a number of these agreements are still operating. Agreement holders whose agreements are soon to end, or who wish to transfer early to Environmental Stewardship should contact their local Natural England Office.