Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)

Section 4 - How to apply for ELS and Uplands ELS

4.1 Before you apply

4.1.1 Things to do before you apply

Before you apply, you need to make sure that:

  • You understand the scheme requirements – see Section 5.
  • You have read the scheme rules – see Section 5.
  • You are eligible to apply for the scheme – see Section 5.3.
  • Your land is eligible to be included in your application – see Section 5.4.
  • You have registered all of your farm land on your holding, on the Rural Land Register (RLR) administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) (see Appendix 2 for contact details).
  • You have a vendor number, County Parish Holding (CPH) number and Single Business Identifier (SBI) number. If you have previously claimed payments under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS), an England Rural Development Programme (ERDP) or Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) scheme, you will already have been issued with a vendor number. The CPH number enables Natural England to identify the location of your holding and provide your application maps. If you do not have a vendor number or CPH number you must obtain one from the RPA (see Appendix 2 for contact details).

You can choose to apply for ELS and Uplands ELS online or by post.


4.1.2 Apply for ELS online

ELS Online is a software package that will enable anyone who wishes to apply for ELS (or Uplands ELS) only – either for themselves or acting as an agent or intermediary for someone else – to prepare an application on their computer and submit it to Natural England via the internet. It is a secure process and the package includes a step-by-step guide to using the software to complete your application. Applying online is quick and easy and has many advantages:

  • easy to download software with user friendly functions;
  • an online team provides dedicated customer support;
  • there is no limit to how many applications can be submitted, which is of particular benefit to agents making multiple applications;
  • it is easier to make alterations to your application before it is submitted;
  • there is a calculator to convert your mapping measurements into ELS points (please note it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the area/length of options included within the agreement is correct); and
  • it saves considerable time when submitting applications.

Users will need a connection to the internet, preferably by broadband, due to the large size of the software application and supporting information. The software application is almost 20 megabytes (MB) in size and although a conventional 56 kb ‘dial-up’ modem will work, the download could take approximately 60 minutes using this method. To apply online:


4.1.3 Obtain an application form and maps to apply by post

To apply by post, you will have to obtain an application pack. To do so, you should call your local Natural England office (see Appendix 1 for contact details).

You will be asked to confirm the following:

  • your name and correspondence address;
  • your vendor number; and
  • the CPH numbers covering the eligible RLR land parcels you are entering into ELS.

You should also have a list of your land parcel details to hand, in case you also need to confirm one or both of the following:

  • Individual RLR parcel number(s) for any ineligible land registered under your CPH number(s), so that these parcels can be omitted from your application (see Section 5.4.2).
  • Individual RLR parcel number(s) for any additional eligible parcels that are not registered under your CPH number(s) so that these can be added to your application (see Section 5.4.1).

You may also request the following forms:

  • Common land supplementary application form (NE- CLA4) (see Section 5.3.9)
  • Agent authorisation form (NE-auth) (see Section 1.2.8)
  • Supplementary land ownership and control form (NE-LOC) (see Section 5.3.2).

Natural England will then send you your personalised application form and application maps which you will need in order to prepare your postal application (see Section 4.3.3 for how to complete these).

Please note that requesting and receiving a set of maps and a personalised application does not oblige you to apply for the scheme. Your commitment to the scheme will only be made once you send in your application and have received confirmation of acceptance into the scheme from Natural England.


4.1.4 Check your application pack is complete

Your application pack will include:

  • A personalised application form, which has been pre-filled with information about you and your land, including RLR parcel numbers and areas. You must ensure that you choose enough options to reach your points target and use this form to submit your application.
  • Your Environmental Information Map. This map shows national designations on your land such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Scheduled Monuments and Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDAs), along with a selection of other undesignated environmental features. This map should help you to identify high-priority features on your land that would benefit from the introduction of appropriate scheme options.
  • Your Farm Environment Record (FER) Map. This map of your land should be used to prepare your FER (see Section 4.3.3 Step 2 and the example FER Map included with this handbook), and should be returned with your application form.
  • Your Options Map. This map of your land should be used to mark where you are putting your scheme options (see Section 4.3.3 Step 4 and the example Options Map included with this handbook) and should be returned with your application form.

Step-by-step advice on completing the application form is given at Section 4.3.2.

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