Environment Secretary George Eustice has called on farmers and land managers to share their views on the government’s flagship green farming scheme outside the EU.
Mr Eustice has announced that farmers will be at the forefront of reversing environmental declines and tackling climate change as they reshape the future of farming in the 21st Century.
The government has published new details on its future Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM), which will see farmers paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife.
Moving away from a system that pays farmers for the total amount of land farmed, the scheme will instead pay for ‘public goods’ that benefit society, such as clean air and water.
Mr Eustice said: “We can all agree that we want British farming to be sustainable in the truest sense of the word, an industry which is profitable, competitive, and productive while feeding the nation and taking care of our landscapes too.
“Now more than ever, efforts for the environment are absolutely critical, and no group has more power to reverse environmental decline than our farmers.”
The proposals include three ‘tiers’ of entry to the scheme, enabling anyone from any farm or land type to participate at the right level.
Tier one encourages farmers to adopt environmentally sustainable farming and forestry practices, while farmers, foresters and other land managers in tier two would focus on delivering locally-targeted environmental outcomes. The third tier would pay for larger-scale, transformational projects – such as restoring peatland.
Farmers and land managers have 10 weeks to have their say on the details of the new scheme, with government capturing their knowledge and experience.