United Kingdom

Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
Sue Agnew
Phone: 07768866813
Stephen Chaplin
Natural England
Phone: +447789745651
Gwyn Jones
Phone: 07884116048

RBPS for biodiversity on arable and upland grassland systems in England




A results based payment approach is being trialled for 4 biodiversity outcomes on arable and grassland habitats in England.

Farmer surveying meadow Credit: Annabelle LePage (Natural England)
Pollen & nectar mix for insects Credit: David Whiting (Natural England)

Location of the scheme

several regions

Grassland  - Wensleydale, North Yorkshire

Arable – Norfolk & Suffolk, East Anglia

Duration of the scheme

Since: 1st Jan 2016
Until: 31st Mar 2021

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity

Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Habitats (incl. habitats of Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Directive (FFH-D.))
  • Species (incl. species of FFH-D. and Birds Directive (BD))

Farmland birds, wading birds, pollinators, species rich meadows

Which indicators are used?

  • Habitats (incl FFH and BD)
  • Seed crop establishment in plots of sown winter bird food (for farmland birds)
  • Number of species & cover of sown plants in plots of pollen & nectar resource (for pollinators)
  • Rush cover, vegetation height, quality & extent of wet features (for breeding wader birds)
  • Presence & frequency of meadow indicator species (for species rich meadows)

Design of scheme / project

  • Pure Result Based Payments

Aims to test:

  • Is the environmental performance of habitats under RBPS agreements better?
  • Can farmers accurately self-assess their results?
  • Is the approach more cost effective?
  • What are agreement holder and stakeholder attitudes to RBPS?

RBPS agreements have been set up with 31 farmers and in total will cover 4 years.  Results are assessed annually by field survey following a standard methodology that has been designed to be simple enough for farmers to undertake themselves.  The managing agency uses the same methodology to separately measure the results and test the accuracy of self-monitoring by participants.

Results are also measured in control sites with equivalent habitat in conventional schemes to test the effectiveness of RBPS compared with management based approaches. 

The scheme design includes up to 10 payment levels linked to increasing score/quality to provide an incentive to deliver better outcomes.

Each year the participants are asked to complete a survey to gauge their attitudes towards different aspects of a results based approach e.g. risk, confidence.

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • National governmental financing
  • Others

Defra (2018-2021)

European Commission – DG Env (2016-2018)

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Based on the costs of management actions

Income foregone + additional costs

The maximum payment is based on the assumed income foregone and additional costs necessary to deliver the highest scoring outcomes.  Stepped payments below this are proportions of the maximum amount.

Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?

  • No

How many hectares are in the scheme?

  • 100 – 500

How many farmers take part in the scheme?

  • Less than 50

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Advisors visits (optional)
  • Advice by telephone
  • Information documents (pamphlets, reports, etc.)
  • Website
  • Information meetings/workshops (voluntary)

Are there any evaluation results?

  • Yes

Pilot Results-Based Payment Approaches for Agri-environment schemes in arable and upland grassland systems in England (JP0031)




Contact person

Annabelle LePage (Project Manager), Natural England, Foss House, 1-2 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX UK Annabelle.LePage@naturalengland.org.uk

Helen Keep, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority helen.keep@yorkshiredales.org.uk