FARMERS in Shropshire and surrounding counties who are interested in accessing Countryside Stewardship grants for environmental land management are being reminded to apply for an information pack by July 31.

The reminder comes from chartered rural surveyor Stuart Richards at Halls in Shrewsbury who says countryside stewardship is more suited to some farmers than others. He advises anyone considering applying to join the scheme to contact him first for a farm appraisal.

“Some farmers could be getting paid for environmental land management that they have already implemented while others might be considering introducing measures that will qualify for financial support,” he said.

“Countryside Stewardship applications must be completed by September, so the clock is ticking for anyone considering the scheme.”

Countryside Stewardship provides financial incentives for land managers to look after their environment through a range of activities, such as conserving and restoring wildlife habitats; flood risk management; woodland creation and management; reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture; keeping the character of the countryside; preserving features important to the history of the rural landscape and encouraging educational access

The scheme is open to all eligible farmers, woodland owners, foresters and other land managers and suitable for many types of land use, including conventional and organic farmland, coastal areas, uplands and woodlands.

Scored against local priority targets to maximise environmental benefit, the scheme is competitive and is divided into three elements: mid tier, higher tier and capital grants.

The mid tier element offers options and capital items to achieve simple, but effective environmental benefit. The higher tier element covers the most environmentally significant sites, commons and woodlands. Applications for this tier closed on May 5.

Capital grants are made up of just capital items and agreements last for two years. Grants are available when the application window is open for hedgerows and boundaries, woodland support and planning, including feasibility studies and management and implementation plans, for more complex higher tier agreements

For a successful application, farmers are encouraged to choose management options and capital items which satisfy the environmental priorities for their local area.

Mr Richards may be contacted at Halls’ headquarters in Shrewsbury on 01743 450700 or by email at .