ARCHIVE: Entry Level Stewardship Handbook 2005 (PB10355)

2.3    How to fill in your application form and mark your maps

Please read sections 1.2 and 4 of this handbook to make sure you and your land are eligible, before you start to complete your application.

2.3.1    Step 1: Check your pre-filled details and maps

Please note that if your application is approved it will form part of your legal agreement with Defra. Therefore, do not use correcting fluid, and if you have to make any alterations to your application form they must be made in block capitals using black ink and be initialled by you.

Please check the following pre-filled details in sections 1, 3 and annex 2 of your application form:

Section 1 – Applicant’s details: Your application form should have been pre-filled with your contact details, vendor number and legal trading status. Please check that these details are correct and complete any missing information.

Section 3 and annex 2 – Your points target and field data sheet: In order to enter ELS, you will need to agree to carry out a programme of environmental management activities taken from the list of management options in section 3 of this handbook. Each option is worth a certain number of ‘points’. In order for your land to qualify for entry into the scheme you must reach a total target number of points for all the options combined.

The points target for your land will be found in table A in section 3 of your application form. This has been calculated for you using your RLR registered land parcel areas listed on the field data sheet/s at annex 2. Your points target also represents the payment (in s) you will receive under the scheme each year.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all the land listed at annex 2, and identified on your maps, is actually eligible for the scheme by carefully studying the rules on eligibility in sections 1 and 4 of this handbook.

When you have checked that your land is eligible and you are sure the pre-filled land parcel details listed at annex 2 of your application form are correct, you can proceed to Step 2.

If you find that some of your eligible land parcels have not been included in annex 2, you must contact your RDS office for a new application form and maps. You must not add any field parcels to your pre-filled details at annex 2 yourself.

If you need to delete any of your field details please follow these instructions:

  1. Using the field data sheet/s at annex 2 of your application form, delete each ineligible parcel number and associated gross parcel area and amend the corresponding total area of land in box 1 or 2 at the base of the RLR field size column.

  2. At table A, section 3 of your application form, make the corresponding amendments to the total land area/s. Use the revised land area total/s to recalculate and amend your pre-filled points target.

If you find that you need to delete a large number of field parcels from your pre-filled application form, you may find it easier to contact your RDS office and ask them to send you a replacement application form and map/s covering the correct field parcels.

2.3.2    Step 2: Complete your Farm Environment Record

You will need:

  • Section 3 and annex 1 of your application form

  • Your Farm Environment Record (FER) map/s

  • The example FER map which will help to show you how to mark your map (included with this handbook)

As a condition of the scheme you must agree to identify, map and retain the features listed and described on the FER map key that are present on your land. These are your ‘FER features’. Please complete your FER by marking your FER features on your FER map/s. Use the colours on the map key for marking each feature. Confirm that you have a feature on your land by marking the corresponding blank symbol on the right side of the map key with the coloured pencil you have used to mark that feature on the map. The completed map/s must be submitted as part of your application.

Your Environmental Information Map may also indicate features which require marking on your FER map/s.

You will receive three points per hectare of land for completing your FER and retaining all your FER features for the lifetime of your agreement. You should take time to complete it as clearly and accurately as you can. As long as the markings you make are clear and understandable we will be able to accept your map/s.

Record your points score for the FER as follows:

  1. Refer to your total eligible land area in hectares recorded at table A in section 3 of the application form or, where necessary, calculate your total eligible land area by adding the areas recorded in the ‘Area (ha)’ column of table A.

  2. Multiply your total eligible land area by three to give your points score for your FER. Record your points score in the top row of the table at annex 1 of the application form.

2.3.3    Step 3: Identify fields where soil erosion and run-off occur, or may do so in the future

You will need:

  • Your Farm Environment Record (FER) map

  • Annex 2 of your application form (your field data sheet)

As part of your FER you must consider whether any of your land is at risk from soil erosion or run-off. Controlling the problem could protect the environment and improve the productivity of your land. Please read page 70 of this handbook for further information on soil erosion.

First identify where soil erosion and run-off occurs:

Consider each of your fields and mark them in dark brown hatching on your FER map, and put a tick in column 4 of annex 2, if any of the following apply (even if this happens occasionally or only when a certain crop is grown in that field or when stock have poached the soil):

  • If rills or gullies develop in wet weather, including along tramlines

  • If muddy water from the field enters a ditch, stream or river, or sediment is deposited on a road or neighbouring properties

  • If wind erosion of sandy or peaty soil occurs from fine dry seedbeds

Then identify where soil erosion and run-off may occur in the future:

Mark your FER map, and tick column 4 of annex 2, if all the following apply, and you intend to change the management of the land, particularly if you want to cultivate grassland or increase the intensity of cropping or grazing:

  • The soil is sandy or silty

  • There are slopes in all or part of the field that may cause run-off and erosion

  • Run-off will reach ditches, streams, rivers, roads, or neighbouring properties down-slope of the field

If you have identified that soil erosion and run-off occur, or are likely to occur, you should consider choosing the option to prepare a Soil Management Plan (EM1). You could also consider the management options to reduce run-off and soil erosion. See page 70 of this handbook.

2.3.4    Step 4: Choose which options to include in your application

You will need:

  • Annexes 1 and 2 and section 3 of your application form

  • Your Options map

  • The example Options map which will help to show you how to mark your map (included with this handbook)

In this handbook, read section 3: ‘List of options, management requirements and points allocations’ to find out what options can be included in your application. You will see that there is a wide range of options designed for a variety of farming systems. Please read through all the options and decide which ones you would like to include in your application. A summary table of options is provided at section 3.1.

Please also have a close look at your Environmental Information Map, your Farm Environment Record and the separate sheet entitled ELS: Making the most of your options (included with this handbook). This information may help you to decide which options to choose and where to locate them.

For each option you wish to include in your agreement you must:

  1. Decide where the option is to be located on the land (you may decide you want to have the option in more than one location).

  2. Mark every instance of the option with a coloured pencil on your Options map/s using the appropriate colour for that option as specified on the Options Map Key. Do not mark rotational and management plan options on your Options Map - these options are recorded at annex 1 of your application form.

  3. Write the appropriate option code, using a fine black pen, on or against the option in each place that you have marked it on your Options map/s.

If you have any Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS), Energy Crops Scheme (ECS), Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme (ESAs) or Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) agreement land, please follow these instructions:

As indicated by the Options Map Key, mark the location of non-rotational agreement land (e.g. existing grass margins, blocks of wild bird seed mixture), that falls within the eligible field parcels identified on your Options map/s. Please note that if a CSS or ESAs option covers a whole field, the field concerned is not eligible for the scheme (see section 2.3.1, 4.2 and 4.3 for details).

Having marked your Options map/s you will now need to record your choices, and calculate the points you have accumulated, using annexes 1 and 2 of your application form.

Use annex 1 for boundary, rotational and management plan options. Instructions and guidance on how to complete annex 1 are provided on the following two pages.

Use annex 2 (the field data sheet) for non-rotational options within fields (e.g. for buffer strips and blocks of wild bird seed mixture). Instructions and guidance on how to complete annex 2 are provided on pages 28 and 29. Do not use annex 2 to record rotational options.

© Defra (James LePage)

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