Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UPDATED in 2013
ED1 Maintenance of weatherproof traditional farm buildings
2 points per m2 of ground floor area


Please be aware that the cash equivalent of points gained through use of this option are classified as nonagricultural de minimis State Aid. See Section 5.5.11 for more information about State Aid payments.

A traditional farm building is a building or part of a building constructed before 1940 for a use associated with agriculture, and built using traditional methods and materials such as timber, brick, stone, tile and slate. Their construction, layout and function provide information about the rural economy and past farming practices. While many traditional farm buildings (TFBs) are not suited to modern agriculture, they are often valued features in the landscape and make a major contribution to local character. The annual active maintenance of weatherproof TFBs prevents the onset of serious structural problems that might otherwise need expensive restoration in the future.

‘Maintenance’ refers to the routine work that is necessary to protect the fabric of a building and to keep it weatherproof. It does not include any work to put right significant defects or decay, or anything required to bring a building in poor repair back to good condition. This sort of restoration work may be funded under HLS. Some maintenance works will be required annually. Others, such as clearing of gutters and vegetation, may need to be undertaken several times per year.

Typical maintenance work includes:

  • undertaking a regular inspection of the building to check its condition and identify any problems that need attention;
  • ensuring that all services are working properly, such as making sure that gutters are free of debris;
  • undertaking minor repairs to the external fabric of the building, such as replacing slipped or broken roofing slates and tiles to prevent rainwater penetration, renewing cast iron gutters and drainpipes, painting woodwork and metalwork, replacing broken glass, pointing walls, clearing vegetation; and
  • inspecting the building regularly to identify areas needing maintenance work, such as checking downpipes and gutters for leaves in the autumn, noting slipped slates, and checking the condition of paintwork and other areas requiring rectification.

Eligible buildings include TFBs that:

  • are in a sound and weatherproof condition;
  • were built for a purpose associated with agriculture, such as housing machinery or animals, or storing or processing crops and food; and
  • are still used for an agricultural purpose, whether or not it was the original one (for example, a barn built to house animals which is now being used for storage of feedstuffs or equipment).

TFBs that meet the above conditions but which are currently unused or empty are also eligible. It is not a requirement for buildings to be on land registered on the Rural Land Register (RLR) (see Section 5.4.1), but you must record them on the FER.

Ineligible buildings include:

  • metal-framed Dutch barns;
  • farmhouses, residential or domestic buildings;
  • buildings already converted to a non-agricultural use, ie to a residential or non-agricultural business use;
  • TFBs already in receipt of funding from another scheme, such as the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP) or Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE);
  • TFBs that you intend to convert to a non-agricultural use during the life of your agreement; and
  • TFBs that will not be in your ownership or control for the life of your agreement.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Continue to protect and maintain in weatherproof condition the specified TFB(s) (including fixtures and fittings and adjacent associated features, such as mounting blocks or stack/stook bases).
  • Carry out maintenance works and minor repairs on a ‘like for like’ basis, using traditional materials and methods, to retain the character of the building in its local setting.
  • Where a non-traditional material has previously been used to repair or re-clad the building (such as corrugated iron sheeting to cover roofs), this may be retained and should be maintained appropriately.
  • Obtain current photographs of all elevations of the building as evidence of its condition when you joined the scheme. This should include photographs of any areas where non-traditional materials have previously been used to repair or re-clad the building. Retain these photographs and submit a copy of them with your application.
  • Keep a record of work done, and carry out and record a brief visual inspection at least once a year.
  • Retain the building in your ownership or control for the life of your agreement.
  • Ensure that the building is not converted to a non-agricultural use during the life of your agreement.
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