Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) and other different environmental schemes are currently being developed and tested where money will be provided for specific targeted aims in particular areas, with the current suggestion that there will be no blanket support for the production of food. This suggests a multiple zoning of the UK where, if there is a trade in public goods, this will be more similar to the trade in Water Abstraction Licenses where the market is more hit and miss and involves a bureaucratic, involved and slow transfer process. However, talking of increased bureaucracy, the idea of ELMS to some of us smacks of the worst aspects of the RPA, with their chaotic and unreliable computerisation of BPS when dealing with what are relatively straightforward area payments, and the heavy burden of information and evidence needed as experienced with Natural England and Stewardship. This could result in a system bred out of previous scheme approaches and bureaucratic thinking that takes many years to be established and “fine-tuned”, during which there will inevitably be a need for landowners/farmers to employ those who have experience of the previous schemes (such as land agents and farm consultants) to enable them to make use of it. For further information on ELMS click here.


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