Further details on the next stages of the implementation of the Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) have been outlined by George Eustice at the Oxford Farming Conference.
The Local Nature Recovery Scheme and Landscape Recovery Scheme are set to work alongside the already publicised Sustainable Farming Incentive within the ELMS framework. The two new schemes will focus on the restoration of habitats and landscapes, a reduction in water and air pollution, and a drive for sustainable food production; the overarching aim being to ‘make more space for nature’.
The Local Nature Recovery Scheme (LNR) is set to introduce change at a farm scale. The scheme is to evolve from Countryside Stewardship, taking the ‘best’ points from Mid-Tier agreements and encouraging specific actions previously seen under Higher-Tier or Higher Level Stewardship agreements. Proposed options centre on the management, restoration and creation of different habitats in the farmed landscape. These include breeding areas for wildlife, species-rich grasslands and lowland heathland.
The Landscape Recovery Scheme (LR) takes the above and expands it to the landscape scale. For this, individuals or groups of interested parties (e.g. farmers, public bodies, estates) are to work together to deliver long-term projects, with individual projects to be 500 – 5,000 hectares in size. These will result in land use change and habitat restoration. The scheme is to be implemented in two rounds, with the first round for 15 pilot projects to be opened shortly. This round shall focus on the themes of recovering and restoring threatened native species, and restoring rivers and streams. This scheme is a long-term, collaborative commitment with projects scored against feasibility, cost and impact.
Unfortunately, more detailed information of the above schemes has not been circulated. We do know that the application window for the Landscape Recovery Scheme is due to open shortly, whilst the Local Nature Recovery Scheme is to be piloted in 2023, with full rollout not expected until 2024. Significantly, no indication of payment rates has been provided. Detailed rules are to be supplied by the Government in due course, once further reviews of proposals have been undertaken.
The three schemes within ELMS have been designed to be complementary to one another. Farmers will be able to choose which schemes they enter and we have been assured that there is flexibility throughout, allowing changes to the land included and timings.
Information on the schemes can be found at:
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