Defra has announced that the government is to pay more to England’s farmers and land managers who protect and enhance the environment.
England’s farmers are to be awarded increased payments for protecting and enhancing nature and delivering sustainable food production under the Government’s Environmental Land Management schemes, Defra has announced.
Additional funding will be available for farmers and landowners through both the Countryside Stewardship and the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) schemes. The aim is to provide more support to the industry and drive uptake at a time of rising costs for farmers.
The changes mean farmers could receive up to a further £1,000 per year for taking nature-friendly action through the SFI. This new Management Payment will be made for the first 50 hectares of farm (£20/ha) in an SFI agreement, to cover the administrative costs of participation and to attract smaller businesses. SFI is already paying farmers to improve soil and moorlands, and an expanded set of standards for 2023 will be published shortly.
In addition, farmers with a Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreement will see an average increase of 10% to their revenue payment rates – covering ongoing activity such as habitat management. Defra is also updating capital payment rates, which cover one-off projects such as hedgerow creation, with an average increase of 48%.
Meanwhile, capital and annual maintenance payments for the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and Tree Health Pilot (THP) will also be updated this year, helping to incentivise farmers to incorporate more trees as a valuable natural resource on farms.
The Government expects these changes will see more farmers taking individual positive actions, such as creating hedgerows and flower-rich grass areas on the edge of fields, while supporting farmers and landowners in making space for nature alongside sustainable food production.
A full list of the increased capital and revenue payment rates is available from the Rural Payments Agency.
How To Apply
Applications are made online.
For more information, visit the UK Government website.