Environmental Land Management scheme details published – an overview

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The government has now published the detail of the long-awaited update on the Environmental Land Management Scheme, or “ELMS”.

The scheme will, once fully implemented, replace the European Common Agricultural Policy. ELMS seeks to balance the implementation of the mantra “public money for public goods” against the need to produce home-grown food and other products.

It has taken six years, numerous environment secretaries and fierce lobbying from farmers’ unions and environmentalists to re-imagine the support afforded to the agricultural sector post-Brexit.

Under ELMS, the government will roll-out funding for 280 varied farming-related activities, encompassing a wide range of land types.

The new publication sets out the payments that farmers and land managers can expect for many of these land-management related activities, such as: an individual establishing a spring cereal crop; squirrel population control; and testing the soil organic matter. The scheme also offers one-off grants to support innovation, research and development.

Subsidised farmers and land managers can choose more than one activity that they wish to undertake. Farmers and land managers therefore receive payments according to their proactive management of the land as opposed to payment being based solely on the acreage/hectares of their landholding.

Payments will be quarterly, and on a per hectare basis, with the payment rate varying depending on the activity undertaken.

It remains to be seen what the reaction to the detail will be, but some critics have pointed out that the scheme will continue to disproportionately benefit larger landowners.

We will be looking at the scheme in greater detail over the coming weeks with a view to sharing insights into the effects and opportunities arising under ELMS; and the practical issues that may arise from ELMS. Please get in touch by emailing: s.murray@ashfords.co.uk if you would like to be notified when we release our ELMS insights, or would like to discuss the issues raised in this article.

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