Natural England - More about HLS Targeting

More about HLS Targeting

Natural England has produced a set of targeting maps to increase the environmental benefits delivered through Higher Level Stewardship. These maps will help secure the most appropriate management in geographic areas where environmental outcomes are likely to be greatest. The targeting maps are the first systematic joining together of information on biodiversity, landscape, natural resource protection, public access and historic interests. In addition a range of themes have been identified which provide an opportunity for all farmers and managers to enter into, or continue with, Environmental Stewardship schemes, irrespective of geography, providing they are delivering management options that support the themes.

Natural England is now working with local partners and stakeholders to identify the best way of helping farmers and land managers to secure new HLS agreements that will help manage, restore or create the features set out in the target area and theme statements. You may be contacted direct through your relevant Natural England team or you can contact them direct through your regional office.

Our advisers will discuss with farmers what features and priorities are most relevant to their farm. It will not be necessary for a farmer to produce a farm environment plan or an application before this judgement is made: Natural England will offer advice much earlier in the process. Agreements that demonstrate good environmental management for target area or theme features are the most likely to be successful. HLS continues to be a competitive scheme and each HLS application will be assessed on its merits.

Target areas

The targeting map identifies 110 individually named, multi-objective target areas covering roughly a third of England. These represent the areas where Natural England wishes to focus delivery of HLS to maximise environmental outcomes and value for money.

Within these target areas, we will be seeking agreements that can make the greatest total contribution to the identified environmental priorities for the resources available. The priorities for each target area are set out in the Target Area Statement.


There are important features and opportunities outside target areas, where HLS will also be important. As well as the target areas, which cover multiple objectives, we have identified themes which look at priorities for HLS outside the target areas. These themes have been agreed on a regional basis and supporting information can be found in Theme background. The theme approach allows those farmers and land managers outside the target areas to focus classic scheme renewals and new HLS applications to meet theme priorities.