We submitted our response to the EFRA enquiry on Environmental Land Management. here are some of the main points we made 

The Enquiry closed at the end of January. It wanted to know if the Government’s plans are realistic, whether they had listened to farmers; what sort of support farmers will need to manage the transition, and how the ELM can be made to work for farmers and the environment.

We always try to be constructively critical, but this can be a tall order. We told the Inquiry we are not confident that ELM will be “commons ready” by 2027 when BPS monies are phased out. In fact, this is too late, BPS will be halved by 2024 and as a minimum we will need a commons-ready ELM going live by then to bridge the projected cash flow shortfall.

We said that despite all the talk of co-design, we worry that rather than getting a scheme and options designed specifically for commons, they will be retrofitted into ELM designed for sole occupancy, enclosed land. We will then have to spend the next few years ironing out the problems.

Anything that reminds us of the poor previous experience of environment schemes (late payments, complexity, fear of administration/ bureaucracy) is going to be a barrier to signing up to ELM. What we need to encourage us to participate in ELM is adequate financial incentives, making the processes easy and simple and minimising the administrative burden. Let’s hope they listen.