Countryside Stewardship Scheme:Written question - 134916

Q
Asked by Bill Wiggin
(North Herefordshire)
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Countryside Stewardship Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans reduce the size of the guide for the mid-tier manual and supplements.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 16 April 2018

Officials are currently reviewing the Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier manual and information on GOV.UK to look at ways to simplify and improve information provision for applicants.

In addition, the Rural Payments Agency and Natural England have been tasked with simplifying Countryside Stewardship, to save farmers time and cut down on paperwork. We have introduced four new Countryside Stewardship Offers for Wildlife with a simplified manual this year and farmers who meet the eligibility requirements will be guaranteed funding. The new Offers are simpler and quicker to apply for, complement existing Higher Tier and Mid-Tier agreements and make the scheme available to even more farmers and land managers.

The burden of EU law constricts our ability to fully reorganise the way such schemes are administered and the threat of EU penalties means that some farming stakeholders prefer more comprehensive guidance for their members. However, when we leave the EU, we will be free to pursue better policy models needing less administration.

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