There are a number of grants available for agricultural land. It’s worth factoring these into the financial equation when you are looking at a country estate.
Help is at hand.
These are some of the grants that are available, dependent on key conditions being met.
Basic payment scheme. BPS is the principal agricultural subsidy scheme in the EU. You may qualify for up to £70 per acre, per annum for farmable land. Payments are not linked to production. For more information go to www.defra.gov.uk (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) or to www.rpa.defra.gov.uk (the Rural Payments Agency)
From July 2015. The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) is set to replace the current Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) with a range of grants.
These require the landowner to undertake a variety of environmentally-beneficial options within the eligible land. The schemes are split between ‘midtier’ and ‘higher-tier’.
Within each one there are various optional conditions that the landowner can choose to meet. The value of the grant payments depends on which and how many of these conditions are met.
Mid-tier CSS. Between 3% and 5% of eligible land must be included in stewardship.
Higher-tier CSS. Between 5% and 10% of eligible land must be included in stewardship. There will be various options available and the income produced by the CSS will depend on the number of these options that are taken up by the land owner.
There are also a number of capital grants available for woodland and hedgerow planting and ongoing management. Grants are related to the size of the individual project.
The scheme will be delivered by Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency.
Thanks: Tom Tyrwhitt-Drake, BCM.
Advice papers. Middleton Advice is a series of top-level answers to questions that are often raised over the course of our client relationships. It’s important to note that you should not proceed with any investment decision on the basis of the advice contained in these papers without further consultation with Middleton or other professional advisors. Information accurate at publication date of October 2015.