Defra recently shared its emerging thinking on the design of a new Environmental Land Management scheme. This is at early stages and there are many stages to go through before there are any solid proposals for a future scheme.
Defra recognises the need for a simple scheme for applicants. Currently Defra favour a whole farm plan based approach covering both production and environment. The detail of what is included in a plan, who is the delivery body, or who does on farm monitoring are all to be determined, along with many other aspects of the scheme. Many of these will be tested, trialled or piloted before they are brought together in the new ELMs, which is due to be in place, sometime after 2022. This gives the NFU the opportunity to engage effectively in those discussions. The timescales do feel optimistic for developing a new scheme.
The tests and trials will start later this year and be used to consider issues such as what type of advice and guidance is needed in ELMs or would reverse auctions be a real option. Currently there is no budget for this work. The piloting phase will be to test the deliverability of the near final version of the scheme, involving 5% of the target population. The pilots will not evaluate environmental impact: it will not run long enough.
NFU members can find out more here.