Plans for greener farming
Published March 17th, 2020
Further details have been unveiled of the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme which will replace direct payments and Countryside Stewardship (CS) when the UK leaves the EU.
The government’s flagship green farming scheme will start fully in 2025 and farmers and land managers are being invited to share their views on the plans for a greener future.
The ELM scheme will see farmers paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating habitats for wildlife. The system will not pay farmers for the total amount of land farmed but instead pay for ‘public goods’ that benefit society, such as clean air and water.
The proposals include three ‘tiers’ of entry to the scheme, enabling anyone from any farm or land type to participate at the right level.
Tier one will encourage farmers to adopt environmentally sustainable farming and forestry practices, while tier two will focus on delivering locally-targeted environmental outcomes. The third tier will pay for larger-scale, transformational projects, such as restoring peatland.
Defra has also announced a timeline for the transition to ELMS. Tests and trials will take place from 2020 until 2027 and an ELMS national pilot from 2021 to 2024 ready for a full roll out from 2025.
Participation if the pilot is likely to be via invitation and submission of Expressions of Interest and it is expected that those part of the pilot will be able to apply for a full ELMS agreement.
Direct payments will be phased out from 2021 until 2027 and the Countryside Stewardship Scheme will continue during transition with no new agreements after 2024.
“Countryside Stewardship offers funding for five years and we are urging farmers to apply now even if they haven’t got involved before as this will the stepping stone to the new system,” said Vicky Price, chartered surveyor at the Hereford office of Berrys.
“This will be the first year for application under English rules for schemes starting in 2021 and farmers entering CS from 2021 will be able to end their CS agreement early where they have secured an ELM scheme agreement.”
Defra is seeking feedback on the proposals by May 5.
The government has also published a future farming policy update as set out in the Agriculture Bill with policies designed to increase productivity while protecting the environment and animal welfare. Proposals include:
From 2021, new government grants towards equipment and technology to help farmers increase productivity and deliver environmental benefits.
From 2022, Defra will support research and development projects to help the farming industry benefit from innovation to produce food more efficiently and sustainably with lower emissions.
On animal health and welfare, a new deal will be struck between government and farmers to promote the production of healthier, higher welfare animals, with publicly-funded schemes available for farmers to deliver animal health and welfare enhancements.
The ELM discussion document will be open for views at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/elm/elmpolicyconsultation/, and the future farming policy update can be read in full on GOV.UK.
For more information, contact Vicky Price at the Hereford office of Berrys on 01432 809834 email Vicky.firstname.lastname@example.org