The National Park Authority aims to encourage good environmental management of all farmland. Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme providing funding to land managers delivering environmental management. Environmental Stewardship is made up of three elements: Entry Level Stewardship, Upland Entry Level Stewardship, Higher Level Stewardship. There is also an organic strand to Entry and Upper Entry levels.
The National Park Authority encourages farmers to enter into Entry Level Stewardship and Upper Entry Level Stewardship (please note that Upland Entry Level Stewardship is only available on Severely Disadvantaged land). These are simple whole farm agreements lasting 5 years where the farmer can choose the management of environmental features appropriate to their farm. Higher Level Stewardship offers 10 year agreements to manage habitats of existing high environmental value or habitats with the potential to become environmentally valuable.
It should be noted that 2013 is the last year for new Environmental Stewardship applications, with no new ELS or UELS applications being accepted after 1 September 2013.
Defra are developing a new agri-environment scheme to take the place of Environmental Stewardship. Existing Environmental Stewardship Agreements will run their course. Current Environmental Stewardship agreement holders, whose agreements are due to expire in 2014, before the new scheme is launched, are advised to speak to their Natural England Conservation Adviser in the first instance.
Connectivity is about building a coherent and resilient ecological network based on more, better, bigger habitat areas with increased connections between them. The National Park Authority aims to make significant improvements to existing habitat connections across the National Park to ensure that biodiversity and character of the North York Moors continues to strengthen and improved.
A habitat mapping exercise has been undertaken to establish where there are ‘building blocks’ of existing quality habitat networks in the National Park and these strategic ‘corridors’ are where the Authority is focusing efforts during the next few years, working closely with landowners and managers. The majority of these corridors are through farmland and woodland.
The Authority has developed a programme of discretionary grants that are targeted at achieving connectivity measures that cannot be delivered by alternative funding sources.
Natural England - Environmental Stewardship Scheme
Ami Walker, Lead Land Management Adviser
T: 01439 772700
John Beech, Land Management Adviser
T: 01439 772700