Defra invites Uplands Alliance to pilot new environment schemes

The Uplands Alliance - representing hill farmers and upland land managers - reports on meetings with Defra and farming minister George Eustice MP, seeking to influence the design and priorities of new farm payment schemes.

The Uplands Alliance has reported on meetings with Defra officials and farming minister George Eustice MP. They discussed the array of benefits the uplands already provides and which could be enhanced with better farm payments in future.

The Uplands Alliance reports that George Eustice MP asked for help designing the nuts and bolts of the new schemes and calculation of future payments. Discussions also covered what will work on tenanted land and commons as well as owner occupied land, covering issues such as:

  • What it costs to provide the benefits
  • What is the value / worth of the benefits to society?
  • What is society prepared to pay for these benefits?

There will be opportunities for involvement in the piloting of the new schemes, which may be funded with money raised from capping of the basic payment scheme post-Brexit, with the Agriculture Command Paper reportedly set to consult on the capping level.

The Uplands Alliance is convening specialists to discuss piloting new schemes in the uplands, including Defra’s Agri-Environment team and Natural England’s EU Exit team, together with National Parks England, the NFU, AONBs, RSPB and Wildlife Trusts. The agenda considered:

  • Delivery of a range of public benefits
  • Different types of land tenure
  • Geographical Spread
  • How to engage and motivate take up and delivery of outcomes

The Uplands Alliance been asked to submit a proposal for piloting environmental schemes in the uplands to Defra.

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