The National Farmers Union (NFU) has set out proposals for the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) after the agricultural industry raised concerns about the lack of detail in the Government’s plans.
Agriculture bodies had been concerned about how ELMs, which will largely replace current schemes available under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), will work.
However, in a recent debate, Defra Secretary of State George Eustice explained that the Government will lay out a plan in November that will give farmers much more clarity about the transition towards the plan over the next seven years.
According to Mr Eustice, there will be three tiers to the new policy, to acclimatise people gradually. Then in 2022, a prototype version of the Tier One scheme, called the Sustainable Farming Incentive, will be rolled out.
Mr Eustice added that in 2022 and 2023, the Government will drive up participation in Countryside Stewardship and use the powers in the Agriculture Bill to simplify that further so that it becomes a steppingstone to the Tier Two of future policies.
At around the same time, some of the more bespoke schemes around woodland creation, peatland restoration and potentially land-use change will be rolled out. These will become a prototype for the Third Tier, meaning that the full ELM process would become a consolidation of these prototype versions when it is launched in 2027.
The benefits of launching in this way are that farmers will have time to decide what works for their businesses rather than having to radically change overnight and will be supported by a gradual reduction in the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
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