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Estimating the incidental socio-economic impacts of Environmental Stewardship - MA01047

Environmental Stewardship (ES) was launched by Defra in early 2005. The introduction of ES marked a new approach to the delivery of agri-environmental policy in England bringing together the separate approaches of Countryside Stewardship, Environmentally Sensitive Areas and extending the potential for environmental management to the entire farmed landscape through the introduction of an entry level tier of ES – Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) or OELS (for the organic tier).

The primary objectives of ES are:

• Conserve wildlife (biodiversity);
• Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character;
• Protect the historic environment and natural resources;
• Promote public access and understanding of the countryside;
• Natural resource protection;

Within the primary objectives it also has the secondary objectives of:
• Genetic conservation;
• Flood management.

ES is available on farmed land throughout England and rewards farmers for caring for the wildlife, historic, cultural features on their land and the provision of new public access. A detailed description of scheme requirements including the different payments available in return for undertaking various tasks can be found at:

ES forms a major part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13 and is part-funded by the European Union. It is an England wide scheme which is delivered on behalf of Defra by Natural England. The total spend on agri-environment schemes (including closed schemes) under the RDPE is forecast to be about £400 million per year. The uptake of ELS/OELS is 4.4 million ha (34,000 agreements) with a further 217,000 ha under HLS/OHLS (2,700 agreements) and a further 900,000ha under closed ESA/CSS agreements.

Defra and Natural England are now keen to undertake an assessment of the incidental socio-economic benefits of ES so we are better informed about its socio-economic impact on the wider local economy. In particular, the extent of local multiplier effects and employment creation as an indirect result of agri-environment expenditure. This will help us understand the contribution of ES to the economy of rural areas.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2010

Cost: £119,615
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Countryside and Community Research Unit
Economic Research              
Entry Levy Scheme (ELS)              
Higher Level Scheme              
Understanding socio-economic benefits of recycling              
Fields of Study
Environmental Protection - Agriculture