Issue details

Renewal of Higher-Level Stewardship Agreement to fund management of Nature Conservation sites over the period of 1 March 2023 until 29 February 2028.

The Council entered a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Agreement with Natural England in 2009.

This agreement is an agri-environment scheme run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in England which aims to secure widespread environmental benefits.

The HLS scheme funds site management activities that aim to achieve higher quality habitat management and provides financial support to enable the Council to fulfil its statutory obligation to maintain the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Shalford and Pirbright.

The Agreement covers 16 sites to manage the majority of the Council’s Heathland, Chalk Downland and Wetland habitats.

Within the agreement the Council commits to prescribed activities including conservation grazing, autumn meadow cuts and scrub clearance. In addition, the agreement terms expect “cross compliance” from the Council to fulfil its legal obligations for managing its land holdings, such as provision of public access and preventing spread of controllable species.

The amount of funding is £40,417.40 annually for 5 years until 29 February 2028.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Income > £200,000;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/11/2022

Decision due: 14 Dec 2022 by Joint Executive Head: Environmental Services

Lead member: Lead Councillor for Environment and Climate Change

Lead director: Joint Executive Head: Environmental Services

Contact: Hendryk Jurk, Parks and Countryside Development Lead Email:

Authority / Delegation: Constitution Part 3. Delegation to Officers P3-60. GENERAL DELEGATION TO ALL JOINT STRATEGIC DIRECTORS AND SERVICE LEADERS 2. To undertake the day-to-day management and operation of staff reporting to them and of the premises and services for which they are responsible in accordance with the policies and procedures laid down by the Council, including: (c) entering into contracts (in consultation with the relevant Lead Councillor where the value is above £200,000), memoranda of understanding or other arrangements.