The Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM) is due to launch in 2024, replacing the current Countryside Stewardship offer. Defra are developing the scheme through a process of co-design. Members are asking how they can get involved in the design process.
The NFU is involved in all the Defra stakeholder meetings nationally. To help inform our on-going input the NFU has set up a Task and Finish Group consisting of members from each HQ Board and Forum. This is in addition to seeking comments directly from HQ and regional Boards and Forums. Members are encouraged to engage with NFU meetings so your views are heard.
Defra have been running a consultation on the design of ELMs. This is currently paused due to Covid19. When the consultation returns NFU will be responding. Prior to that the NFU will continue to gather views to inform our response. A summary of the consultation and our outline draft response are available to members for comments.
The NFU has organised several on farm visits for the Defra team in the last year and Defra attended a number of NFU meetings with members. This type of activity is currently on hold due to Covid19. When restrictions are lifted we will be seeking further opportunities to get out on farm with Defra.
Defra have been asking organisations to put forward test and trials for ELMs. These are to test or trial an element of the future scheme, for example what is the most effective way of providing advice? There are over 50 commissioned with more in the pipeline. Information on the ones NFU are involved in can be found here. Defra has been asked to provide a more up to date list. The NFU is leading a couple of test and trials. If you are not already involved there may be a local test and trial that you can engage with.
The other opportunity with be the ELM National Pilots due to start next year. There is currently little detail on this beyond Defra are the accountable body. The Pilot should be asking farmers to express an interest maybe this Autumn. The number of participants will be very limited. For more information there is a member briefing on the development of the National Pilots. The pilot will be paying for land management, similar to a Countryside Stewardship scheme.
The timelines outlined here could change due to the impacts of Covid19.