DEFRA scraps EU’s greening requirements for 2021
DEFRA scraps EU’s greening requirements for 2021, as time runs out for farmers to give feedback on the new ELM scheme
Welcome news from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and The Rt Hon George Eustice MP yesterday and an insight into how they plan for the industry to transition from BPS to the new ELM scheme.
Yesterday’s announcement significantly reduces the administrative burden on farms next year by scrapping the EU’s greening requirements, following a report in 2017 stating that the system was complex but had no environmental impact.
Under the ELM scheme, due to be rolled out in 2024, the intention is for farmers to be paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife. Farmers will therefore be at the forefront of reversing environmental declines, tackling climate change and reshaping the future of farming in the 21st century.
Although the ELM scheme has been widely welcomed there are major concerns being expressed by many commercial farmers about the lack of almost any mention of UK food production within the proposed new system.
UK food self-sufficiency sits at a historic low and the general public increasingly appreciates food that is grown in the UK, the importance of which has been highlighted over the last few months. There is a golden opportunity here to promote a new UK food production policy that increase food self-sufficiency integrated alongside environmental schemes. Much lobbying has already been done in this area, but it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
Defra have a policy discussion document for farmer feedback on the proposed new scheme, this ends on 31st July 2020. Please try and take some time to make your comments known. Information on how to give feedback can be found here.
They have also been running a series of webinars providing farmers with more information and the opportunity to discuss what the proposals will mean for them. The last of these is on Thursday at 6pm and you can register here. Registration needs to be made 24 hours prior to the start of the webinar.