Natural England - Farm Environment Plan

Farm Environment Plan

The Farm Environment Plan (FEP) is a structured survey of all environmental features on a farm. It involves identifying and making an assessment of the condition of any features of historical, wildlife, resource protection, access and landscape interest.

FEP is a pre-requisite for the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and will help to determine a suitable level of management that could be achieved through HLS. It will also consider the potential for creating environmental features and habitats, improving public access, and managing land for flood management and natural resource protection.

HLS applications must be accompanied by a completed FEP. If a FEP is completed to Natural England’s quality standards, and is submitted with a valid HLS application, then a payment will be made for it.

As a FEP is a detailed study, you may choose to employ a consultant to carry it out on your behalf.

How does the FEP payment work?

The amount paid for a completed FEP depends on the total area of land registered on the Rural Land Register, as shown on the FER/FEP map.

The payments are:

Area (ha)<66-1516-5051-149150-200201-500
Total payment (£)395555715103511101430
Area (ha)501-10001001-15001501-20002001-25002501-3000>3000
Total payment (£)175020702390271030303350

This payment includes an amount to cover the fees charged for consulting the staff at Historic Environment Record (HER) offices; £75 for areas of 50 ha or less; and £150 for areas more than 50 ha.

You will be paid for the FEP after it, and the HLS application, have been assessed by Natural England. A FEP should not be commissioned unless it will accompany an application for HLS. Payment does not depend on the application to join HLS being successful.

If you have not already been contacted by a Natural England adviser about submitting an HLS application, you must contact your local Natural England office before completing and submitting a FEP and HLS application.

The HLS application

You must get an HLS application pack from your local Natural England office before starting work on a FEP. This pack will include:

  • A FEP map to be annotated with the farm’s FEP features.
  • A map or maps of your farm showing the environmental information that we already hold.

The other Natural England documentation you need to carry out a FEP is:

Please note: the Farm Overview and Opportunites Form has now been incorporated in a revised version of the FEP form.

It is essential that the surveyor is familiar with the guidance in the HLS Application Handbook and the FEP Features Manual before starting work on a FEP.

Natural England run free training workshops for FEP surveyors, please contact your local Natural England office for details of events in your area.

How to submit your FEP

Paper forms should be posted to your local Natural England office with the accompanying FER/FEP map and other documentation (HER consultation response and map). These should be clearly marked with the applicant’s name and HLS application reference number.

Electronic forms (e-FEP) contains an automated process that lets you set up an email with the completed forms as attachments. For more details see e-FEP: Guidance for customers and FEP surveyors.

However, you will still need to send us copies of the completed FER/FEP map and other documentation (HER consultation response and map). Mark these clearly with the applicant’s name and HLS application reference number and send to your local Natural England office.

Relevant documents

The following publications and notes will help the FEP surveyor:

There is also a range of guidance for farmers and land managers.