From Di Smurthwaite
Hugh Townsend of the Western Morning News has provided some top tips for Countryside Stewardship applications, as the deadline is now imminent. The main applications have to be in by 31st July, but in the case of Hedgerow RLE1s, the applications have to be in by 6th July. If farmers and landowners intend to include options for management, laying or coppicing hedgerows, they need to check their hedgerow data on the RPA online system, and confirm that the information represents what is taking place on the ground. If corrections need to be made, these must be using a RLE1 form and sketch map submitted to the RPA by 6th July.
Whether applicants choose a Mid Tier application or a Wildlife Offer, they need to take into account HEFER (Historic Environment Farm Environment Record) if they have a scheduled monument on their land, which must be registered to their SBI. This must be included on their application, and the relevant box ticked.
In completing their applications, it is important to consider their previous Basic Payment Scheme applications and how they may impact upon the CSS application. All parcels of land which applicants wish to include in their application for either a Mid Tier or Wildlife Offer must be registered with the RPA, and a completed RLE 1 form and an accompanying map submitted to the RPA prior to their application.
Natural England found last year that some application forms were not completed correctly, and they recommend that applicants seek professional advice when completing their forms, or at least have them double checked before submission.