The Countryside Stewardship Scheme
The Countryside Stewardship Scheme is the Government’s scheme for funding the conservation and management of the farmed countryside. Farmers are paid grants to implement management methods that enhance the landscape, encourage wildlife and protect historical features. Lees Court is at the forefront of conservation methods and is a major participant through its three separate Countryside Stewardship Schemes on the Estate (one of the three schemes is in its twelfth year). The principal Scheme was entered into as part of the Lees Court Estate Project to enhance the farmland ecosystem and biodiversity of the Estate and provide valuable habitat for wildlife and gamebirds.
Higher Level Stewardship
When these current schemes expire the Estate plans to enter into Higher Level Stewardship, which aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in high priority situations and areas. It involves more complex environmental management.
As part of the Lees Court Estate Project, Lees Court commissioned an independent study to demonstrate that Government grant assistance, through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, rarely covers the profits foregone or investment by farmers in capital programmes to enhance the countryside. The issue was raised in The House of Lords and its findings accepted.
Countryside Stewardship was introduced as a pilot scheme in England in 1991 and operates outside the Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Payments are made to farmers and other land managers to enhance and conserve English landscapes, their wildlife and history and to help people to enjoy them.
HLS aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in priority areas. It involves more complex environmental management requiring support and advice from our local advisers, to develop a comprehensive agreement that achieves a wide range of environmental benefits over a longer period of time. HLS agreements last for ten years.