I have been asked to write a blog about the new farm support grant, the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). This is due to replace the current Basic Farm Payment Scheme, aims to incentivise farmers to achieve environmental enhancement and protection and restore and improve natural capital and rural heritage.
Trial for ELMS schemes have just started and will run until 2022. Pilots will then run until 2024 with the scheme currently planned to roll out from 2025. Given the current political uncertainty, and the lack of information being put forward by Defra, there is not a lot one can definitely say on the subject. Six years seems a very long lead in period for a scheme which was first muted back in 2015. I think however that it is well worth considering some of the consequences that this long gestation might have.
The only certainty for farmers and landowners over the next few years is uncertainly. For over 70 years individual farmers have benefited from price support and more recently from area payments for owning or farming land. In leaving the EU it is likely that the Government will move towards a system of payments which require landowners for providing a range of public benefits based on ecosystem services. Michael Gove has announced a pilot ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) to start in 2021, with the intention of it becoming national and replacing the current Basic Payments Scheme, and indeed Countryside Stewardship, in 2024. How the detail will come about and whether Brexit will slow things remains to be seen, but we will all benefit from this policy which over time, which will improve air and water quality, reduce flood risk and enhance wildlife. Continue reading