Agriculture & Rural Property

Publish date

3 November 2022

A further shake up to farming subsidies?

Recently farmers have started to accustom themselves to the idea and implementation of the new Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) but, since the new government’s recent mini-budget, everything has again been thrown into turmoil.

ELMS, replacing the basic payment scheme under the Common Agricultural Policy, are, in the main, seen by farmers as a good thing primarily because they are based on the good stewardship of land rather than the size of your landholding.  A downside is that if you have a smaller landholding you may find it hard to continue sufficient food production using sustainable methods as land may need to be sacrificed from production to ELMS.

Not only did the government announce a further review of ELMS but they also announced the current ban on fracking would be lifted and new investments zones created with relaxed planning rules to encourage development.  All this is seen by nature and environmental groups as an erosion of the protections of the countryside which were being enhanced by ELMS.  Some groups have gone so far as to describe government actions as an “attack on nature”.

One national newspaper suggests the first limb of ELMS is to be continued, the sustainable farming incentive, but that the other two, local nature recovery and landscape recovery are under threat.  This would pose a further challenge to fulfilment of this country’s carbon net zero targets.

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