REA & WHA submits response to Environment Land Management (ELMs) consultation
With the end of the UK’s transition period with the EU approaching, DEFRA are continuing development of the future regime for agriculture and land use payments. The replacement for the current direct payments model will be the Environment Land Management (ELM) scheme and will be based on the mantra of “public money for public goods”. The scheme is due to start in 2024, but a National Pilot will begin towards the end of 2021.
The WHA joined with protagonists in the energy crops field (both members and non members) to formulate a joint response. This fed into the the main REA response which can be read here: REA submitted response to ELMs
The summary key points from the REA’s response are as follows:
- ELMs should be an opportunity to promote broader solutions.
- The UK has a wealth of experience when it comes to land-use management, with specialists available on forest management, application of renewably sourced fertilisers and soil improvers to agricultural land, and use of different crop solutions, for instance perennial energy crops and break crops for bioenergy.
- The role of forestry under ELMs is a positive step towards an integrated land use policy, but should have a role in all three tiers of ELMs
- We are calling for a framework that promotes education on the opportunities created by woodland, as well as a financial framework that overcomes the initial cost hurdle.
- This, will ensure that ELMs delivers both increased tree planting, and better forest management – rather than encouraging one without strong support to achieve the other.
- Perennial energy crops must be included in all three tiers, and recognised as both an economic choice for businesses, and a vital part of adapting to the impacts of climate change.
- They should be included on the grounds that they give farmers a reliable income from economically marginal land, have benefits for biodiversity, as well as flood management and when harvested, most are used for bioenergy, delivering further Greenhouse Gas reductions.