Natural England is inviting expressions of interest for applications to join the higher tier of the new countryside stewardship scheme offering incentives to farmers, woodland owners and other land managers to look after their environment.
Claire Bainbridge, a rural chartered surveyor at George F White’s Alnwick office, said: “The higher tier is competitive and targeted at environmentally-significant sites, commons and woodlands that need more complex management and support. It is the equivalent of the higher-level stewardship that the countryside stewardship scheme replaces, and those with expiring agreements must submit an expression of interest form by next Wednesday, July 15. These forms will be assessed, and those that offer the best environmental value will be offered direct support.”
“As July 15 approaches, it’s imperative that those wanting to be considered for the higher tier in 2016 start the ball rolling.
“With many of our farming sectors suffering from price volatility due to global pressures, having secure income through environmental schemes is crucial to many farming businesses in our region.
“In many cases, Natural England and the Forestry Commission will be aware of sites that offer significant environmental benefits and will have written to those with expiring agreements who may be eligible.
“On submission of an expression of interest form, Natural England will then provide support with the application process.
“Farmers, woodland owners and land managers should submit an expression of interest form if they feel that their farm is an environmentally-significant site, irrespective of whether they have received a letter from Natural England”.
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