Farmers to be paid for protecting the environment - Thorne Widgery

Following the announcement that the UK will move away from traditional subsidies based on farm size and towards a system that encourages stewardship of land “for the public good”, trial schemes are being held in Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire.

One environmental protection pilot programme, which is being moved from the EU to UK management, is rewarding farmers for their work which is specifically tailored to the environmental needs of their area.

The project, entitled Payment by Results, is paying participating farmers in Norfolk and Suffolk in the East of England and Wensleydale in Yorkshire.

In Norfolk and Suffolk farmers are planting nectar plots for bees and other pollinators, while those in Wensleydale are focused on managing species-rich meadows.

The Payment by Results scheme is currently funded under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and had been due to come to an end in December this year, but the Government has now announced it will be allocating additional £540,000 worth of UK funding to extend the scheme for a further two years.

As Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) commented, the pilot marks a shift in how farmers are rewarded for their work.

He added that the new approach signals the future of farm payments where farmers deliver public good for the environment. He added that under the CAP, agri-environment schemes have been overly bureaucratic and inflexible, which has impeded innovation for farmers, who are passionate about the environment and want to see real change.