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Assessing the baseline for environmental impact of Uplands Entry Level Stewardship - LM0402

Environmental Stewardship (ES) is a centrepiece of the Government's sustainable agriculture and rural development policies. The scheme is run under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It is managed on behalf of Defra by Natural England with payments being made to agreement holders
via the Rural Payments Agency. ES contributes to Defra strategic priorities for biodiversity, natural resource protection, sustainable farming and food and sustainable rural communities. Building on the forgoing Countryside Stewardship and Environmentally Sensitive Areas Schemes, which are now closed to new entrants, ES is delivered as a single whole-farm scheme made up of four component strands: Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS), Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and from July 2010, Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (UELS) replaces the earlier Hill Farm Allowance (HFA), changing the basis for upland farm support from an area-based payment to one which explicitly requires the provision of environmental benefits.

The new scheme provides farmers with higher payment levels than ELS, in recognition of the challenges of upland land management. UELS shares the broad objectives of the ELS scheme, which include protection of habitats and biodiversity, maintenance of landscape character, conservation of historic buildings and features, protection of natural resources such as soil and water, and genetic conservation. These measures are also intended to deliver benefits to rural communities and help mitigate the effects of climate change on the natural and managed environment.

The aims of this project were to provide a baseline assessment, and establish a cost-effective and repeatable methodology for monitoring the environmental impacts of UELS in the future

The survey gathered and analysed data from 95 agricultural holdings across 8 upland regions in England with the aim of providing:

1. baseline data against which the environmental impacts of UELS can be measured by future resurvey,
2. a cost effective and repeatable methodology for re-survey,
3. an assessment of the baseline conditions against Environmental Stewardship Scheme (ESS) objectives.
Project Documents
• OTH - Other : LM0402 UELS Baseline Survey Summary Findings - brief for publication 130313   (74k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £125,466
Contractor / Funded Organisations
U R S Scott Wilson Ltd
Environmental Stewardship