With nearly 60% of England’s agricultural land now in Entry Level Stewardship, this is the basic underlying scheme for farmers and land managers in England. ELS agreements are for five years.
The scheme provides you with a straight forward approach to delivering simple and effective environmental management across your whole farm, that complements your existing farming operation, and allows you to create your own practical environmental management programme.
ELS closed for new 2013 applications on 1 September 2013. The ELS scheme will only be open for specific applications in 2014 (i.e. for expiring classic agreements and ELS agreements that underpin HLS). Please see the Transition page for more details.
Changes from 1 January 2013
The Making Environmental Stewardship More Effective (MESME) webpage provides details on new ELS options which will be available from 1 January 2013. There will also be changes to some existing ELS option prescriptions and points values from 1 January 2013. The new options and changes have yet to receive formal EU Commission approval.
You earn points for the range of environmental management options you agree to provide over the course of the agreement. There are over 65 management options to choose from, suitable for most farm types such as hedgerow management, providing wild bird cover and creating buffer strips.
In general you must achieve a total of 30 points per ha, and in return you will receive funding of £30 per hectare, per year, for your whole farm (a lower rate applies to larger parcels of land above the Moorland Line.
A 100 ha lowland holding would need 3,000 (30 x 100) points to qualify for ELS, and would receive an annual payment of £3,000.
You could achieve those 3,000 points through ELS in many ways. See table below.
|Option description||Points available||Measurement||Your points|
|Enhanced hedgerow management||42 per 100m||500m||210|
|Permanent grassland with low inputs||85 per ha||8 ha||680|
|Ditch management||24 per 100m||750m||180|
|Management of field corners||400 per ha||1 ha||400|
|Wild bird seed mixture||450 per ha||2 ha||900|
|12m buffer strips for water courses on cultivated land||400 per ha||1.5 ha||600|
|Skylark plots||5 per plot||18 plots||90|
For full details of options available see the ELS Handbook.
Information for land agents
ELS Seasonal tips
Seasonal tips for farmers in Entry Level Stewardship - a reminder of some of the work on ELS options that may need doing at this time of year.
ELS option dates