A Government announcement yesterday promising to reduce administrative burdens during the transition from BPS to the new ELM scheme will be warmly welcomed by farmers and land owners.
With the aim of cutting red tape and reducing administrative burdens, farmers and land-owners will no longer have to comply with the so-called greening requirements when applying for the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). This means no crop diversification rules and no Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs).
Instead, during the 7-year transition period, a system will be introduced that rewards farmers for delivering public goods such as tree and hedge planting, river management and wildlife habitats. By 2024, when the new Environmental Land Scheme is due to be rolled out, there will be a greater collaboration between environmentalists and farmers to deliver better habitat and thus reverse the decline of some of our most cherished species.
Making the announcement yesterday, Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said ‘We will be setting out more detail in the autumn on how we will ensure a smooth transition for our farmers, as they move towards our new, fairer agricultural system, which will reward them for the hard work that they do to protect our environment. The planned phasing out of Direct Payments will take place gradually to give farmers the time to adapt to the changes. In the majority of cases, the gradual reduction in these payments will be offset by alternative support being made available to help farmers improve their productivity and aid their transition into the new Environmental Land Management scheme. Farmers will also continue to be able to apply to Countryside Stewardship schemes until the future scheme is rolled out.’
The national conversation around the future Environmental Land Management scheme is open until July 31, with farmers warmly invited to share their views on a policy discussion document available on CitizenSpace.