Amendments to Countryside Stewardship (CS) applications for 2021 will be allowed following the recent announcement that greening requirements for next year’s BPS claims have been dropped.
This means CS mid-tier and higher-tier applicants will be able to increase the area in their application, adding land that would otherwise have gone into the 5% environmental focus area (EFA) requirement, or change the location of land.
They will also be able to add options that were previously closed to them because of the greening rules.
The CLA and other bodies had been pushing for such a move and would have preferred to see it made earlier.
Defra announced on 27 July that the greening requirements would not apply for 2021 BPS claims.
This timing drew criticism from farming bodies and advisers, as it came just three days before the 31 July CS application deadline, when many applications had already been submitted and leaving a very short time for anyone to make changes to applications not yet submitted.
Senior CLA land use policy adviser Harry Greenfield welcomed the move and said applicants would be contacted by the RPA and told of the opportunity to amend applications. However, they could also contact the RPA directly about making changes.
A form for the amendments (pdf) is available online and guidance is expected to be issued by RPA/Defra.