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  • The Path to Sustainable Farming

  • Hot off the press ‘The Path to Sustainable Farming’ plan from DEFRA highlights attempts to improve farming systems and productivity whilst taking steps to improve animal welfare, the environment and reduce carbon emissions.

    Matthew Reed summaries the salient points…

    1.Introduction of the Environmental Land Management Scheme

    • A new Sustainable Farming Incentive for soil health, nutrient management, hedgerows and integrated pest management.
    • Funding for local priorities for local nature recovery and payment for public goods to farmers to effectively purchase changes in the environment (including creating, managing or restoring targeted habitats (farmland and woodland), also to provide improvements to flooding and water quality
    • Landscape Recovery via a local land management plan providing large scale woodland creation, peatland restoration and coastal wetlands

    2.Productivity will be tackled under the new ‘Farming Investment Fund’ opening in 2021:- Funding for equipment, resilience, innovation & Slurry investment programmes.

    3.Changes set out in the Agricultural Bill to reduce the burden on farmers and take a modern approach to regulation, cutting red tape and provide a more targeted regulatory system.

    4.Measures introduced in the Environment Bill to achieve net zero by 2050 as part of the 25 year ‘Green Recovery’ plan including

    • Impose 10% biodiversity net gain in national planning policy and mandatory conservation covenants for 30 years
    • No compensation for lost abstraction licences
    • Change in land drainage rates
    • Water resources plan
    • Air quality issues such as ammonia
    • Office for Environmental Protection with powers

    As and when more detail emerges from Defra we will publish the information about the various schemes and how to apply.