Your land will need to be registered before you apply for a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.
Contact the Rural Payments Agency to obtain a vendor number – which is a unique trader registration number – allocated by the RPA.
If you have previously claimed payments under the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS), Single Payment Scheme (SPS) or an Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) scheme, you will have already been issued with a vendor number.
Customer Service Centre
If you are a tenant farmer you will need to have management control over the land you farm for 5 years for Entry Level or for 10 years for Higher Level. If you are in doubt, contact your Natural England office.
HLS is discretionary and competitive. We are looking for agreements that are likely to achieve maximum environmental benefit and represent good value for money. HLS is usually combined with ELS, OELS or Uplands ELS options.
You must contact your local Natural England office for a pre-application discussion by ringing our central number 0300 060 0011 or
You can talk to someone in your area and possibly arrange a free farm visit by contacting your local representative.
As a result of the discussion, you will be notified whether or not your holding is suitable for HLS or whether you ought to submit an application for ELS, OELS or Uplands ELS.
If the pre-application discussion (see above) results in your holding being deemed suitable for HLS, the next steps are:
You will receive an invitation to apply for HLS in a specified financial year, usually with an approximate agreement start date specified.
You must send confirmation that you wish to proceed with the application. If you have not already done so, you may now wish to nominate an agent to act on your behalf.
An HLS Pipeline clinic meeting will be held with you/your agent to determine which of the Tier of the 3-Tier HLS Process your application is to be processed under.
You will need to obtain an application pack. To do this call 0300 060 0011 to be put through to your local Natural England customer service office. You will need to provide the following information:
your name and correspondence address;
your vendor number; and
the County Parish Holding (CPH) number/s covering the eligible RLR land parcels you are entering into ELS/OELS.
We will then send you a pre-filled application pack. This will need to be returned by post.
Information for land agents
Quick access to Environmental Stewardship information relevant to you.
Farm Environment Plan (FEP)
Environmental Stewardship forms
All the forms you need to get started for postal application.