Environmental schemes (ELMS) developments - February 2022
A number of announcements were made in early February concerning the current environmental subsidy schemes. Indeed, since DEFRA issue a new press releases each time any element of the regime is modified (even in the cross referencing), in-boxes will have been filling up on a daily basis!
Some of the more significant changes are:
The option for capital grants has been added for those businesses (just under 1000 nationwide) within the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot scheme. The grants fall into three categories (boundaries, water and air) and are capped at £20,000 for each category. Over 50 separate grants are available covering everything from wildlife boxes to gateway resurfacing, but the availability will depend on which specific standards have been adopted. You can read further details here.
The rates payable under existing and new stewardship agreements have been revised, to take effect from 2023. Each category of activity has been reviewed and most (but not all) have been increased substantially. For example, the popular AB1 nectar flower mix will rise by 13% from £511/Ha to £579, but AB12 supplementary winter feeding only goes from £632 to £657 (4%) and AB14, harvested low input cereal drops by £30 (9%) for 2023 agreements. GS2 low input grassland rises by a significant 39% from £95 to £132/Ha. You can read more here.
There have also been modest increases in some of the amounts paid under the SFI pilot scheme with, for example, the arable land standard payment increasing by between £2 and £5/Ha.
The window for new stewardship schemes opened on 8 February and closes on 29 July for mid-tier and wildlife offers or 29 April for higher tier agreements.
The 2022 stewardship and Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claim forms are not yet available, but businesses are advised to check maps and lodge Rural Land and Entitlements (RLE) 1 forms as soon as possible so that claims can be made in good time when the portals open.
No further details have yet been given of how mainstream SFI claims can be made in 2022 but the preliminary information issued in December will need to be considered from a double funding perspective before entering into a 2023 stewardship scheme.
If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with your usual Larking Gowen contact. You can find contact details in the Our People section of our website. Alternatively, call 0330 024 0888 or email email@example.com.
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