Environmental Land Management Schemes trials in Devon

The UKs new agricultural policy is expected to be underpinned by payment of public money for the provision of public goods. As the UK moves away from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, it has been proposed that farmers in England will see Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) funding and Countryside Stewardship phased out and new agri-environment funding rolled in. The Environmental Land Management System (ELMS) has been proposed as a key element of this.
Most payments made to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy are based on the amount of land they farm. Under ELMS, farmers would be encouraged to produce environmental land management plans and will be paid for the environmental outcomes they deliver.
The proposed new Environmental Land Management system (ELMs) began its test and trial period in 2019, with pilots planned to run to 2021. There are 10 phase one ELMS tests and trials taking place in Devon (see details below).

Dartmoor Test and Trial, Dartmoor National Park
Contact: Harriet Bell
The Dartmoor test and trial will explore four, interlinked objectives:
Phase 1: Explore the role that National Park Authorities can play in shaping, facilitating and delivering ELMS.
Phase 2: Develop a blueprint for Land Management Plans with a specific focus on commons and the link to the home farms and explore what advisor/guidance is required to support the development, implementation and monitoring of land management plans (at a farm, common and wider landscape-scale).
Phase 3: Develop and trial a ‘Payments by Results’ approach that is capable of delivering a range of public benefit objectives and could be operated on a common as well as the home farm, across farm boundaries and at a landscape scale.
Phase 4: Explore how private finance initiatives and other forms of environmental net gain could be incorporated into ELMS at a local level

Exmoor’s Ambition, Exmoor National Park

Farming for the Nation, East Devon AONB
The East Devon AONB Partnership trial will run from December 2019 to March 2021 and is part of a collaborative proposal coordinated through the National Association for AONBs (NAAONB) entitled ‘Farming for the Nation’ which is testing a range of approaches across 12 AONBs in England.
The East Devon proposal is focussed on the Umborne Valley and aims to work with farmers and landowners with small (currently not qualifying on scale) High Nature Value habitat to develop joint/collaborative ELMs schemes as part of a wider nature recovery network.

Farming for the Nation, Blackdown Hills AONB
Contact: Tim Youngs
The Blackdown Hills AONB trial is part of a collaborative proposal coordinated through the National Association for AONBs (NAAONB); ‘Farming for the Nation’. Using peer-to-peer collaboration, through Farmer Ambassadors, to explore how improved connectivity between close or adjoining holdings, allowing collective identification of public goods and agreement on appropriate approaches to their management can improve ELMS take-up in high nature value landscapes.

North Devon Biosphere (Pioneer), North Devon Landscape group

Farming for the Nation, Tamar Valley AONB
Contact: Tim Dart
This test and trial project is also part of the collaborative proposal coordinated through the National Association for AONBs (NAAONB); ‘Farming for the Nation’. The trial is focused on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC). Soil Carbon is a good indicator of soil health, biological activity within the soil, and reflects biodiversity above ground. From an agricultural and business perspective, healthy soils with increasing soil organic matter levels can also be related to consistent sustainable agricultural productivity. The test and trial is therefore looking to road test new to market soil scanners to understand if they are able to produce replicable and consistent results against a baseline of traditional methods of soil assessment. In addition, the project will identify if this is able to measure and assess the Natural Capital position of the soil and the capacity of the soil to deliver ecosystem service benefits. If the technology is reliable, accurate and consistent in measuring the level and amount of soil carbon, it could open up new revenue payment mechanisms for farmers. This project is being delivered in partnership with Duchy College, the Farm Wildlife Advisory Group and the National Association of AONBs.

Clinton Devon Estates
Contacts: Sam Bridgewater and Iowerth Watkins
Catchment-scale spatial planning attempting to enhance ecosystem services across multiple land management boundaries.
Key features of the trial include:
1. Stakeholder led
2. Ensuring catchment plans support agricultural productivity and innovation
2. Reducing environmental risk
3. Maximising wildlife, habitat support and other ‘ecosystem services’
4. Identifying opportunities for delivering further public benefit
5. Increasing local societal support for agriculture and farmers
6. Adequately rewarding farmers for the many public benefits they provide

Developing a ‘local offer’ to support nature rich mixed farming in South Devon, RSPB

Exe Catchment, Soil Association

National Trust