NFU update on ELMs and agri-environment schemes

An image of buffer strips at the edge of a field

Our expert advisers have put together a comprehensive update on ELM schemes (SFI, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery) and Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship agreements.

Our response to the latest ELMs inquiry

The NFU has responded to the EFRA inquiry on ELMs (Environmental Land Management scheme).

The main thrust of our response was based around there being insufficient information available on ELMs for farmers to plan whether to engage.

Farmers are making business decisions now, due to Ukraine and BPS cuts, yet don’t have enough knowledge of ELMs to know if it could work for their business.

The NFU will be giving verbal evidence to EFRA.

SFI rollout

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is open for online applications. Defra’s controlled roll out means that ES (Environmental Stewardship) and common land agreements need to request access to apply.

What we know about SFI and LNR

More information on both SFI and LNR (Local Nature Recovery) is expected before the end of the year.

For SFI we expect information on new standards and payment rates for 2023.

For LNR we will see the types of options and payment rates ahead of the LNR pilot starting in 2023.

Defra has recently outlined how LNR may work. It sounds similar to CS (Countryside Stewardship) with some added flexibility. But, there remains significant gaps in our knowledge about how LNR will shape up. The initial pilot for LR (Landscape Recovery) should announce the successful bids in the next month or two.

Creating new woodland on small areas of land

Defra has confirmed that the EWCO (England Woodland Creation Offer) will become part of LNR in ELMs from 2025.

Existing agri-environment scheme agreements

The RPA (Rural Payments Agency) is contacting HLS (Higher Level Stewardship) agreement holders whose agreements expire in 2023 about five-year extensions.

CS 2023 applications are now closed, and the 2022 CS/ES claim deadline has now passed.

Temporary adjustments to some CS/ES options have been introduced to help farmers deal with the effects of the dry weather.

More detail - download our briefing

We have provided a comprehensive update of the current situation relating to both the SFI pilot and the early roll out, as well as LNR, LR, EWCO and the existing agri-environment schemes in our briefing document for members.

Download: ELM and agri-environment update – September 2022 

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