THE main incentive scheme for countryside management in England. It aims to:
• Sustain the beauty and
diversity of the landscape.
• Improve and extend wildlife habitats.
• Conserve archaeological sites and historic features.
• Improve opportunities for countryside enjoyment.
• Restore neglected land or
• Create new habitats and
The CSS is available throughout England outside ESAs, but
specific landscape types are
• Lowland heath.
• Chalk and limestone
• Waterside land.
• Coastal areas.
• Field margins and field boundaries.
• Old meadows and pastures.
• Old orchards.
The scheme is competitive, and funds are limited (although the funding is set to rise under the ERDP). So not all applications are accepted.
Anyone who owns or manages land can apply. They must enter into a 10-year agreement, which outlines the work that will be done under the scheme. Annual payments are made for changes to farming and land management practices, with additional grants being available for capital works and one-off costs.
Applications should be made by May 31 each year, with agreements commencing on the Oct 1. Land entered in the CSS is not eligible for arable area aid.
The greater the change from existing practices, the higher the rate of grant paid.
Examples of rates:
• Managing lowland meadows and pastures – £85-£115/ha.
• Managing upland meadows and pastures – £20-£150/ha.
• Managing chalk and
limestone grassland – £60/ha.
• Recreating grassland on
cultivated land – £280/ha.
• Restoring old orchards
• 6m arable field margins
• 2m arable field margins
• Managing field margins in intensive grassland –
Providing access is not compulsory but does attract the following supplements:
• Open access (picnic sites, viewpoints etc) – base payment of £150/year plus £35/ha.
• Linear access – base
payment of £150/year, plus 15p/m for footpaths, or 30p/m for horse riding, cycling, or for people with disabilities.
There are also one-off
payments for capital works. For example:
• Tree planting and
management – from 20p for spiral rabbit guards to £50 for major tree surgery.
• Access – from £5/sq m for hard standing car park to £200 for a kissing gate suitable for disabled people.
• Advice – payments of
£120-£300 for professional help in preparing an application or management plan.
Field boundary restoration
Capital payments are available to improve stone walls, hedges, banks and ditches.
• Hedgerows – £3/m for
laying, coppicing and planting plus supplement for preparatory work and staking and binding. £1/m for hedgerow
• Stone walls – £12/m for restoration plus various supplements rising to £25/m for stone-faced hedgebank restoration.
• Fencing – post and wire
fencing at 80p/m or sheep
fencing at £1.20/m.
New options available from the start of 2002 on land that is eligible under the Arable Area Payments Scheme. Records of cultivation or set-aside for the previous five years must be made available.
• Over-wintered stubbles
– £40-£525/ha, depending on whether cropped or left fallow the following spring.
• Conservation headlands
– £90-£270/ha depending on whether fertiliser/sprays are restricted or eliminated.
Wildlife Mixtures – £510/ha
in blocks or along margins
DEFRA Rural Development Service (see last page).