All you need to know… about Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship is Defra’s agri-environment scheme which provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England who deliver effective environmental management on their land.

Administered by Natural England, the scheme’s primary objectives are to:

  • Conserve wildlife (biodiversity)
  • Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
  • Protect the historic environment and natural resources
  • Promote public access and understanding of the countryside
  • Protect natural resources.

Environmental Stewardship has three elements.

Entry Level Stewardship (ELS): 

  • Open to all farmers and landowners.
  • Simple and effective land management.

Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS): 

  • Organic strand of ELS.
  • Open to all farmers not receiving Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) aid.

Higher Level Stewardship (HLS):

  • Targeted environmental management.
  • Capital work plans.

FWi Environmental Stewardship guides:

Entry Level Stewardship
Organic Entry Level Stewardship
Higher Level Stewardship

Further guidance:

Defra ELS handbook
Defra OELS handbook
Defra HLS handbook 
Natural England

Related stories (26 April 2007):


Other FWi Special reports

Still have questions about environmental stewardship? Then visit the FWi forums – we have teamed up with ADAS so you can get answers to any query or problem you have with Environmental Stewardship schemes.