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Fund title: Changes to schemes to support farms in England

Focus of fund/fund aims:

An introduction to the new schemes to support farmers and land managers in England

Application deadline:

n/a

Fund description:

The government has published its Agricultural Transition Plan setting out the new agricultural policy for England.

The new farming policy is centred on moving away from area-based subsidies and instead supporting sustainable farming practices and encouraging activities to improve the environment, habitats and landscapes.

From 2021 until 2027 there will be a seven-year transition period to phase out the direct payments made through the Basic Payment Scheme. They will be progressively reduced each year over this period. As part of the transition towards a new farming policy without direct payments, the government will temporarily introduce ‘De-Linked Payments’ which will remove the “greening requirements” and some of the other obligations that farmers have to comply with in order to receive the payments. Both the Basic Payment Scheme and the De-Linked Payments will be phased out completely by 2027.

A set of new programmes will be gradually introduced over the next few years. For most of the new schemes there will be a period of consultation and co-design with the agricultural sector. The new package will include grants for:

  • Environment
  • Forestry
  • Animal health and welfare
  • Investment in farming equipment & technology
  • Farming in protected landscapes
  • Tree health
  • Research & Development
  • Investment in new slurry stores
  • Supporting new entrants as well as those who wish to retire

The flagship programme is the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme which will eventually replace Countryside Stewardship. It has three components:

Sustainable Farming Incentive: To encourage sustainable farming practices across all farms in order to achieve positive environmental and climate change outcomes
Local Nature Recovery: To support local nature recovery and deliver local environmental priorities. The focus is on creating, managing and restoring habitats as well as species management, rights of way, recreation infrastructure and heritage asset management.
Landscape Recovery: To support the delivery of landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term land-use change projects, including projects to restore wilder landscapes where appropriate as well as large-scale tree planting and peatland restoration projects

There is a ‘National Pilot’ of the ELM: during the course of 2021, Defra will issue invitations to participate in the pilots of each of the three components.

Alongside the new ELM, there is a handful of standalone programmes to help farmers to transition to the new approach:

Of particular interest in Devon is the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme. This is a time-limited scheme to ease the transition to the new ELM for farmers and other land managers in National Parks and AONBs. It will also support wider investment to support rural economies in these areas.

Further information, including email alerts, will be issued by Defra during the course of 2021.

Further information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agricultural-transition-plan-2021-to-2024