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Setting the record straight on HLS agreements


As part of its SR settlement, Defra announced that the HLS budget will grow by 83% by 2013/14 as compared with 2010/11. This increase for HLS is within an overall RDPE budget that will be maintained over the next three years.

Because of the high level of new HLS agreements already approved so far this year we have now temporarily suspended further approvals while we assess with Defra the effects of the new post-SR budget profile. This is necessary because new commitments made this year impact on the budgets for subsequent years.

Farmers who have already been formally offered HLS agreements will not be affected and will have a start date as indicated in their offer letters.

It is important to stress that HLS remains open for business and farmers are encouraged to continue applying.

Entry Level Stewardship, including Uplands ELS, and classic schemes (Countryside Stewardship and Environmentally Sensitive Areas) remain unaffected and these schemes will operate as normal.

If you would like further information about applying for HLS please contact your local Natural England office.

About Natural England

Natural England is the governments independent adviser on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing Englands wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.

–       We establish and care for Englands main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.

–       We work to ensure that Englands landscapes are effectively protected, designating Englands National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Marine Conservation Zones, and advising widely on their conservation.

–       We run Environmental Stewardship and other green farming schemes that deliver over 400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of Englands farmland.

–       We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of Englands species and habitats.

–       We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.

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