Landowners need to manage and maintain their land if it contains dry stone walls, hedgerows and watercourses, or trees and woodland.
Besides protecting rural landscapes and features, certain other obligations apply for people who own (or occupy) a scheduled monument.
Several laws and national organisations help to keep rural landscapes and historic features protected in the United Kingdom, such as:
Note: There are two separate funding schemes in operation that might help you meet the costs of protecting your land.
The GOV.UK website has further information on the type of funding schemes that you can apply for to help you protect rural landscapes and features. They include:
Note: Changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), and in particular the lump sum exit scheme and delinked payments, will help farmers get through the agricultural transition period until 2027.
Farmers or land managers who are claiming rural payments need to follow the rules of cross compliance to get funding from the European Union and the United Kingdom rural development schemes.
Stone walls are important features of the countryside (e.g. for stock management). As the name implies, there is no mortar or cement used in the construction of a dry stone wall.
As a result, if there are any dry stone walls on your land, you should check the condition at least once every year, and:
Dry Stone Walling Association
Tel: 01539 567 953
Learn about call charges
Unless there is a specific reason for doing so you must not remove any of the stones from a dry stone wall.
Farmers and land managers can apply for funding for dry stone walls (e.g. for restoration) from the Countryside Stewardship.
In simple terms, a hedgerow forms a boundary line of bushes - usually in the countryside. Even so, demarcations can also include trees as part of the rural landmark.
Does your land have hedgerows or watercourses on it? If so, the law requires you to use 'reasonable' practices to keep any green cover (natural vegetation):
Removing or destroying certain hedgerows without permission from the local planning authority is illegal.
Some of the other important rules that you must follow in relation to countryside hedgerows and watercourses include:
Note: Information in another section explains some of the benefits of hedgerow management for wild animals and for the environment in the United Kingdom.
The Forestry Commission publishes guidance notes on managing woodlands and how to minimise damage to the wildlife that lives in the wooded areas of the United Kingdom.
You would need consent from the local planning authority (in writing) before causing the damage or destruction of any trees protected by a TPO (including uprooting, lopping, or topping).
Furthermore, the local planning authority (LPA) would require forty two (42) days of written notice before you cut down any tree that is growing in a conservation area.
In most cases, a tree felling licence (available from the Forestry Commission) would be needed to fell most trees. The purpose is to help protect the trees and woodland in Britain.
Note: Another section explains how to appeal a decision about a Tree Preservation Order or replacement order decision. You must also check with the local council before doing building work on homes in conservation areas.
You can check whether you need to get an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before starting any woodland projects. But, an EIA would be required to:
You may need to get an opinion or consent regarding a proposed forestry project before beginning the work.
The Countryside Stewardship scheme (see details above) and the Woodland Carbon Fund make grants available for certain types of woodland projects.
Scheduled monuments are sites with legal protection, due to their historical importance. As a result, a scheduled monument can be (either):
You are going to need permission from Historic England (in writing) before carrying out any work on a scheduled monument. In some cases, you would also need additional planning permission from your local council.
Note: Historic England produces a PDF guide that highlights the main provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. It is useful reading for owners and occupiers of scheduled monuments.
Check to see if the Historic England grant scheme can help you to maintain, or pay for the costs of repairing, one of Britain's scheduled monuments.
The RDPE makes money available to fund projects that are going to improve agricultural practices, the environment, or rural life. Hence, this type of funding goes to schemes that focus on:
Note: Some of the processes differ for the rural development programmes that run in Scotland (e.g. the SRDP), Wales, and in Northern Ireland.
As a rule, you will only qualify for funding from the Rural Development Programme for England if you are (any):
Note: The GOV.UK website has more information on different funding schemes that are available through a variety of rural grants and payments.
Existing funding from RDPE (via the European Union) will continue until the project closes. Furthermore, the UK government continues to fund RDPE projects approved by the 31st of December 2020 until those particular projects end.
Note: Another section contains more information about planning permission for farms and farm buildings in the United Kingdom.
Safeguarding Rural Landscapes and Features in United Kingdom