Natural England - Environmental Stewardship: Frequently Asked Questions

Environmental Stewardship: Frequently Asked Questions


Will I be able to enter my land into Environmental Stewardship and the Single Payment Scheme?

As a general rule land receiving payments under the Single Payment Scheme may be entered into Environmental Stewardship. Please see the scheme handbooks for details.

Cross compliance, which already applies to those claiming under the Single Payment Scheme, also applies to all Environmental Stewardship agreements entered into on or after 1 January 2007. This means that you will have to be able to demonstrate that you are keeping your land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition and complying with a number of specified legal requirements known as Statutory Management Requirements.

Full details of cross compliance can be found in the 'Single Payment Scheme Cross Compliance Handbook for England' and current supplements or via the cross compliance advice programme which has a dedicated helpline and website:

Cross compliance helpline: 0845 345 1302;

How do I apply?

Information on how to apply is available in the handbooks that support Environmental Stewardship. There are separate handbooks for each element of the scheme. See the relevant scheme page:

As explained in the scheme handbooks only land that is recorded on the Rural Land Register can be entered into Environmental Stewardship. New land registration requests and amendments to existing registered land should be referred to the Rural Payments Agency. Once the land is registered, an application for Environmental Stewardship can be made.

When could my agreement start?

ELS, OELS and HLS operate on the basis of monthly start dates. Our target is to provide you with an agreement within three months of receipt of a valid application for ELS and OELS, and within four months for HLS. Agreements will commence on the first day of each month. We will give you the earliest start date we are able to unless you ask for a specific date later than the three or four month target. A start date may be up to 16 months after your application is submitted to Natural England.