Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)

Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013


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Notes: This is the 2013 version of the handbook
Click here for the 2010 version of the handbook
Click here for the 2008 version of the handbook


ELS, OELSD & HLS Compared

The ELS Handbook - A Quick Guide


Section 1
Introduction to Entry Level Stewardship

    1.1 Introduction and general overview
        1.1.1 What is Entry Level Stewardship?
        1.1.2 Benefits of ELS and Uplands ELS for farmers and land managers
        1.1.3 ELS aims and objectives
        1.1.4 Priority options and priority areas
        1.1.5 What the scheme has delivered to date
        1.1.6 Further help: free farm visits and events

    1.2 Key information
        1.2.1 Who can apply?
        1.2.2 How do you apply?
        1.2.3 What land is eligible?
        1.2.4 What are you agreeing to do?
        1.2.5 What environmental management must you undertake and how much will you be
        1.2.6 When will your agreement start and how long will it last?
        1.2.7 When will you be paid?
        1.2.8 Can an agent act on your behalf?
        1.2.9 How will your information be stored and used?
        1.1.10 Can you make changes to your agreement?


Section 2
Environmental objectives

    2.1.Managing arable habitats for farmland birds

    2.2 Managing habitats for water voles, dragonflies, newts and toads

    2.3 Managing habitats for arable plants

    2.4 Managing habitats for bats and dormice

    2.5 Managing habitats for butterflies, bees and vulnerable grassland

    2.6 Managing habitats for brown hare

    2.7 Managing habitats for uplands wildlife

    2.8 Managing your land to protect and enhance the landscape

    2.9 Managing your land for the historic environment

    2.10 Managing your land for cleaner water and healthier soil

    2.11 Managing your land to focus on climate change


Section 3
Option directory for ELS and Uplands ELS

    3.1 Introduction to compulsory requirements and options

    3.2 Compulsory requirements for ELS and upland management
        EA1 Farm Environment Record
        UX Compulsory requirements for SDA land in Uplands ELS

    3.3 Detailed management prescriptions
        B Options for boundary features
        C Options for trees and woodland
        D Options for historic and landscape features
        E Options for buffer strips
        F Options for arable land
        G Options to encourage a range of crop types
        J Options to protect soil and water
        K Options for grassland outside the Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDAs)
        K Option for mixed stocking on grassland
        L Options for grassland and moorland inside the Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDAs)

    Options for Uplands ELS
        UB Options for boundary features in the uplands
        UC Options for trees and woodland in the uplands
        UD Options for historic and landscape features in the uplands
        UJ Options to protect soil and water in the uplands
        UL Options for upland grassland and moorland in the uplands

    3.4 Combinations of ELS options, including Uplands ELS options, which can occupy
same land


Section 4
How to apply for ELS and Uplands ELS

    4.1 Before you apply
        4.1.1 Things to do before you apply
        4.1.2 Apply for ELS online
        4.1.3 Obtain an application form and maps to apply by post
        4.1.4 Check your application pack is complete

    4.2 Choosing your options
        4.2.1 Selecting the right options for your farm
        4.2.2 Further help: free farm visits and events
        4.2.3 Meet your points target
        4.2.4 Can you have more than one option on the same area of land?
        4.2.5 What should you do if you have already sown your crops?

    4.3 How to complete your paper application
        4.3.1 Before you begin
        4.3.2 Step-by-step summary of how to apply
        4.3.3 How to fill in your application form and mark your maps

    4.4 What happens next?
        4.4.1 What happens once you have submitted your application?
        4.4.2 What will you receive if your application has been successful?
        4.4.3 What if your application is unsuccessful?


Section 5
Terms and conditions

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 About your agreement
        5.2.1 What are you agreeing to do?
        5.2.2 What documentation is included in your agreement?
        5.2.3 Duration of your agreement
        5.2.4 What payments will you receive?
        5.2.5 How will you be paid?
        5.2.6 Will your details be made public?

    5.3 Who can apply?
        5.3.1 Who can join the scheme?
        5.3.2 What if you are a tenant
        5.3.3 What if you are a licensee?
        5.3.4 What if you are a landlord?
        5.3.5 What if you are a licensor?
        5.3.6 What about using contractors to manage the land?
        5.3.7 Are business partnerships and trusts eligible?
        5.3.8 Are public bodies and their tenants eligible?
        5.3.9 Is common land and shared grazing eligible?
        5.3.10 What if others hold rights over your land?

    5.4 Is your land eligible?
        5.4.1 What land can you enter into the scheme?
        5.4.2 What land must be excluded from your application?
        5.4.3 Is land that is subject to another scheme or obligation eligible?
        5.4.4 Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and Environmentally Sensitive Areas
        5.4.5 Energy Crops Scheme (ECS)
        5.4.6 The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (England) (No. 2)
                 Regulations 2006
        5.4.7 Felling Licences/Tree Preservation Orders
        5.4.8 Habitat Scheme
        5.4.9 Inheritance Tax/Capital Gains Tax exemption
        5.4.10 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs)
        5.4.11 Producer Organisation Aid Scheme
        5.4.12 Protected species
        5.4.13 Scheduled Monuments
        5.4.14 Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
        5.4.15 Can you use land to apply for ELS that someone else is using to apply for SPS?
        5.4.16 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
        5.4.17 Tenancy conditions
        5.4.18 Uplands Transitional Paymyent (UTP)
        5.4.19 Woodland schemes

    5.5 What additional requirements will apply to your agreement?
        5.5.1 Cross compliance
        5.5.2 Avoidance of under-utilisation and overgrazing
        5.5.3 Public Rights of Way
        5.5.4 Protection of historic featurs
        5.5.5 Archaeological fieldwork and metal detecting on your land
        5.5.6 Other activities on your land
        5.5.7 Inspecting and monitoring your agreement
        5.5.8 Agricultural Waste Regulations
        5.5.9 Plaques
        5.5.10 Keep necessary records
        5.5.11 State Aid payments
        5.5.12 Other funding
        5.5.13 Publicity
        5.5.14 Photographs

    5.6 Making changes to your agreement
        5.6.1 Can you make changes to your agreement?
        5.6.2 What if you let, sell or transfer your land to another party?
        5.6.3 What if you acquire land?
        5.6.4 When will agreement transfers take effect?
        5.6.5 What if you want to upgrade your agreement?
        5.6.6 Derogations
        5.6.7 Variation of your agreement by us
        5.6.8 Certainty of payment
        5.6.9 Exceptional circumstances (force majeure)

    5.7 What happens if you fail to keep to the terms of your agreement, have a
          dispute or wish to make a complaint?
        5.7.1 What is a breach of agreement?
        5.7.2 What penalties could be applied?
        5.7.3 What do you do if you receive an overpayment?
        5.7.4 What if you disagree with any of our decisions or proposed actions regarding your
                 application or agreement?
        5.7.5 How do you make a complaint?


Section 6

Appendix 1
Contact details

Appendix 2
Useful web addresses

Appendix 3
Guidance for calculating nitrogen content of fertilisers and manures

Appendix 4
Animal numbers converted into Livestock Units (LUs)

Appendix 5
List of recognised hardy native breeds of sheep

Appendix 6
Glossary and list of abbreviations and acronyms


Throughout this handbook, text in black is applicable to both ELS and Uplands ELS.
Text specific to Uplands ELS is highlighted purple.

Throughout this handbook, all references to ‘our’, ‘us’ or ‘we’ refer to ‘Natural England’ and all references to ‘you’ or ‘your’ refer to ‘the agreement holder’.

© Natural England, NE349, 2012


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