Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) is a 'whole farm scheme' that gives farmers and land managers in England access to funding in return for maintaining land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) over the course of five years.
Most payments are made at a flat rate of £30 per hectare. However, land within parcels of 15 hectares or more within the Less Favoured Area (LFA) will receive £8 per hectare each year.
How and when to apply for ELS
The application process often takes three months - so if you apply in August you may not receive an agreement until November.
You can apply by completing a paper form or you can apply for ELS online on the Business Link website.
You will need to:
- Produce a simple record of the features on your land by detailing them on a pre-printed map, called a Farm Environment Record.
- Calculate your ‘points target’ - 30 x total farm hectares = points target.
- Choose management options for your land to meet your points target. There are over 60 options to choose from, including maintaining watercourse fencing, planting winter cover crops and managing rush pastures. Use Natural England’s ELS handbook to choose your management options.
- Natural England: Environmental Stewardship
For more information on the Entry Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme contact Natural England.