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Mark Carlisle

Government publishes Path to Sustainable Farming roadmap

Posted by Mark Carlisle on December 4th 2020 in AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL AFFAIRS .

The government published a roadmap, Path to Sustainable Farming, on 30 November 2020. The roadmap is an agricultural transition plan, which sets out changes to agricultural policy in England from 1 January 2021. The changes will come into force over a period of seven years as farmers transition away from EU-based rules and towards a system in which farmers are paid to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions.

The policy statement adds further detail and explanation to some of the provisions contained in the Agriculture Act 2020, including the:

  • Introduction of the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM), to incentivise sustainable farming practices, create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change.
  • Phasing out of Direct Payments.
  • The launch of grant schemes, such as the Farming Investment Fund, which will support innovation and productivity.
  • Simplifying and improving existing schemes and their application processes further from January 2021 to reduce the regulatory burden on farmers.

The final design for the future ELM will continue to evolve and adapt to the lessons learnt through co-design exercises, such as the ongoing tests and trials and an upcoming National Pilot for the scheme. The government will consult formally on a proposal to offer lump sum exit payments to farmers who may wish to leave the sector and plans to delink Direct Payments from land for all farmers later in the agricultural transition.

These measures apply to England only.