Confor welcomes latest ELMS support schemes

7 January 2022

Confor has welcomed the latest step in the development of the new system of support for rural areas.

Environment Secretary George Eustice announced two new environmental land management schemes (ELMS) to offer farmers and landowners “a broad range of voluntary options from which they can choose the best for their business”.  


The first of the new ELMS is the Local Nature Recovery scheme, which will pay farmers for locally-targeted actions which make space for nature in the farmed landscape and countryside - including tree planting as well as  creating wildlife habitat, or restoring peat and wetland areas. 


The second is the Landscape Recovery scheme will support more radical changes to land-use change and habitat restoration - again, including woodland creation, as well as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains, or creating wetlands.


Together with the previously announced Sustainable Farming Incentive which supports sustainable farming practices, the reforms are the biggest changes to farming and land management in 50 years with more than 3,000 farmers already testing the new schemes.


Caroline Ayre, Confor’s National Manager for England. said: “This is a welcome next step and it’s great to see that tree planting is at the heart of both new schemes. Confor and its members look forward to working with Defra and its agencies to ensure that good-quality mixed productive woodland is a key part of underpinning profitable businesses, in resilient landscapes, that contribute to net zero and nature recovery.”


Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, Environment Secretary George Eustice  said applications will open soon for the first round of Landscape Recovery projects. 


Mr Eustice said: “We want to see profitable farming businesses producing nutritious food, underpinning a growing rural economy, where nature is recovering and people have better access to it.


“Through our new schemes, we are going to work with farmers and land managers to halt the decline in species, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, increase woodland, improve water and air quality and create more space for nature.


“Farmers will be able to choose which scheme or combination of schemes works best for their business, and we will support them to do so.”


Local Nature Recovery is the successor to the Countryside Stewardship scheme in England. It will reward farmers taking action at a local level and working together to tackle issues such as water pollution by reducing run-off, mitigating flood risk by installing flood reservoirs, restoring peat or wetland areas, and adding trees and hedgerows to fields.


An early version of the Local Nature Recovery scheme will be trialled in 2023 with a full roll-out across the country from 2024.