The Government Policy Statement regarding the Agriculture Bill confirmed that 2019 is to see a “simplified” application process which should include:-
- Reducing the size of the Mid Tier application form
- The ability to create application packs online from Spring 2019
- Improved Agreement documentation
- The Upland, Lowland Grazing and Mixed Farming wildlife offers being available online as well as the Arable offer
A further H M Treasury Funding Guarantee for Agreements signed after Brexit (29 March 2019) has also been made.
The indications are that whilst the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) is under development the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) will continue alongside it. Added to this, there are discussions ongoing about the possibility of existing ELS and HLS Agreements being allowed to roll on due to the logistics of so many ending at the same time with limited Natural England staff resources. DEFRA is seeking consent from the EU to this.
ELMS tests and trials looking at specific areas will run to 2022 whilst pilot schemes will start from 2021 with CSS alongside. ELMS will roll out in stages from 2025 to 2027 with the intention that in 2028 ELMS will be fully available.
The period to 2028 will be one of transition with potentially 3 different environmental schemes, all with slightly different rules, running at the same time. With these complexities, it is key to ensure that the correct rules are being followed for each scheme and the expert team at Lister Haigh is well placed to advise on all matters.