Government Unveils New Farming Schemes

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has unveiled two new environmental land management schemes that will reward farmers and landowners for actions which benefit the environment, supporting sustainable food production alongside vital nature recovery and work towards net zero.

The Local Nature Recovery scheme will pay farmers for locally-targeted actions which make space for nature in the farmed landscape and countryside such as creating wildlife habitat, planting trees or restoring peat and wetland areas.

The Landscape Recovery scheme will support more radical changes to land-use change and habitat restoration such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains, or creating woodland and wetlands.

These pilot projects are expected to deliver:

  • the creation of 10,000 hectares of restored wildlife habitat
  • carbon savings between 25 to 50 kilotonnes per year – roughly equivalent to taking between 12,000 – 25,000 cars off the road
  • improved status of around half (45-57%) of the most threatened species in England, including the Eurasian curlew, sand lizard and water vole

These schemes join the previously announced Sustainable Farming Incentive.

We have recently worked with Plantlife and other members of the Back from the Brink partnership to produce new guidance and a competency framework for farm environment advisors to ensure that farming practices designed to manage and store carbon, protect soils and water, restore biodiversity and improve air quality become more commonplace whilst also enabling farmers and land managers to produce food and other resources in ways that are profitable and sustainable.