Defra has announced that government will fund a two-year extension to the Payments by Results trial. Initially the trial was part of a European project that started in 2016.
The trial is paying farmers in two areas - Norfolk and Suffolk in the East of England and Wensleydale in Yorkshire - for work that is specifically tailored to deliver environmental outcomes. For example, in Norfolk and Suffolk farmers are trialling planting nectar plots for bees and other pollinators, while those in Wensleydale are focused on managing species-rich meadows. Payments are then linked to delivering a good mix of species on the ground. There are 34 live agreements in the two pilot areas covering 230ha.
The Defra funding allows a couple more years of testing to learn lessons relevant to future scheme development post-Brexit where government, not Europe, set all the rules and design the scheme.
The NFU believes this will be one of the many test and trials Defra will undertake in coming years to inform the development a future environmental land management scheme. The NFU looks forward to learning from the payment by results trial to find a way of delivering a simpler more flexible scheme that delivers for the environment as part of a productive farm.
Information on the payments by results trial can be found on gov.uk here.