United Kingdom - England

Scattered trees in arable farmland

The Basic Payment Scheme (the equivalent of the EU Pillar 1 payments) has operated as previously in 2021, with recipients required to comply with cross-compliance.  It will be phased out between 2021 and 2027.  Payments will be reduced each year, but proportionally more for larger land holdings.  It will be replaced by Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs), which will have three tiers.  Tier 1 – will pay for management changes directed at improving environmental performance of farming operations.  Tier 2 – will pay for management of land specifically for environmental purposes.  Tier 3 – will pay for large-scale environmental change such as afforestation or creation of new wetland. 

The three tiers are represented by new agri-environment schemes that will be introduced in ELMs.  These are the Sustainable Farming Incentive (open to BPS recipients in 2022, and to all farmers in 2024), Local Nature Recovery scheme (from 2024) and the Landscape Recovery scheme (from 2024).   The Countryside Stewardship Scheme, which has covered the Pillar 2 payments to date, will continue to operate until 2024.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive will pay farmers to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way, paying them for carrying out actions within a set of standards they choose from.  Local Nature Recovery will pay for actions that support local nature recovery and meet local environmental priorities.  Landscape Recovery will support landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term projects such as restoring wilder landscapes, large scale tree planting, peatland and salt-marsh restoration.

Eligibility for Grant Funding – Basic Payment Scheme

Individual trees are eligible if scattered within an agricultural parcel.

Lines of trees (maximum of two trees width) are eligible if scattered within an agricultural parcel.

Groups of trees on an agricultural parcel that are adjacent to a boundary and 1) the area underneath the canopy is used for agricultural activity (this condition is met when it is suitable for cultivation or grazing of livestock) 2) if unsuitable for cultivation, the entire area under the canopy is accessible to farm animals for grazing on 3) more than 50% of the area underneath the tree canopy is covered by grasses, other herbaceous forage or other arable land are eligible.  This includes silvoarable and silvopastoral agroforestry, riparian forest buffers and windbreaks/shelterbelts.

Eligibility for Grant Funding – Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme pilot studies

Currently the eligibility criteria include:

Arable and Horticultural Soils standard of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Create 10 m buffer round at least 50% of the in-field isolated trees on arable or horticultural land as a habitat for wildlife.

Three levels of standards in the Hedgerows standard of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

Introductory level:

Leave at least 50% of the hedgerow uncut on rotation.

Maintain hedgerow trees, or plant or tag new ones.

Intermediate level:

Leave more hedgerow uncut, or raise the cutting height.

Leave the tops to grow uncut on short hedgerows.

Maintain more hedgerow trees. or plant or tag new ones.

Create buffer strips on both sides of the hedgerow.

Advanced level:

As for Intermediate Level, but with more trees to be present in the hedgerow and more of the hedgerow to have the buffer strips.

Farm Woodland standard of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Complete a woodland condition assessment.

Attend a woodland threats webinar.

Create temporary open spaces and manage rides.

Create and manage dead wood in woodlands.

Optionally, you can expand your woodland.


Pilots for the other two schemes within ELMs will commence in 2022.


Last updated November 2021



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