Looking ahead to 2022 – Richard Bramley, Environment

First published: 20 December 2021

Richard Bramley leaning on a gatepost

As 2021 draws to a close, Environment Forum Chair Richard Bramley considers what lies in store for 2022.

The integrated role of farming and the environment is very much to the fore of NFU work.

Government and global policy is clear – we must improve the status of the planet which is suffering from human activity over many decades and farming plays a critical role in achieving that alongside of providing sustainable, balanced nutrition for a growing population.

The work of the forum will continue along its core themes on landscape, biodiversity, water, air, climate change and public responsibility (rights of way and fly-tipping).

ELMs and SFI

Specifically, this coming year we expect there to be much focus on the beginnings of ELMs through the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot and its successor, SFI 22. The pilot is there to help to shape SFI 22, but timescales are very tight.

How the other sections of ELMs - Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery - will fit in on farm is yet to be fully understood. And with the development of biodiversity net gain and private schemes, the arena is likely to become crowded.

Nature recovery

Government is also consulting on its Nature Green Paper. This will be a large body of work around nature recovery, and farming will be central to this process.

Another area of focus will be around the issue of climate change and how farms play an important role in mitigation and adaptation to this huge global challenge.

Delicate balance

Engagement regionally and nationally through forum members will be a key part of ongoing work, as well as ensuring a better understanding outside of farming of the delicate balance farmers and land managers play in delivering the many asks placed upon them, especially the complex issues around the tenanted sector.

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