The NFU has called for further clarity on the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), as the government consultation draws to a close today (31st July).
Due to be rolled out in 2024, the scheme replaces the existing environmental schemes currently available under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw said: “The consultation on the new ELMS has given us a great opportunity to get a range of views from our members through our website and in virtual meetings to form the basis of our submission to government.”
While the consultation provided an outline on the future scheme, Mr Bradshaw says many farmers expected more information on what the scheme will look like, particularly with pilots starting next year and the full roll-out expected in 2024.
“We urgently need Defra to provide further clarity,” he added.
“The NFU has always called for a smooth transition to future farm support post-Brexit and Defra needs to outline what schemes will be available during the transition before ELMS is fully available.”
ELMS must embrace the dynamic nature of farming and be simple, flexible and accessible to all farmers and farm types across the UK. It must also allow farmers and growers choose what they want to deliver – whether that be improvements to soil, air, water quality, habitats or wildlife – at the same time as producing food.
“Payments also need to provide an incentive to farmers to take part and reward them for what they deliver for the environment,” Mr Bradshaw added. “Without viable farming businesses who will protect and enhance our countryside?
“If ELMS is properly designed, it could offer the UK farming industry a golden opportunity to achieve net zero and become a global leader in climate friendly food and farming. The NFU will continue to work with Defra on the scheme’s development.”