The UK Government’s flagship farming policy, the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) is currently under review, and there are rumours that it is at risk of being scrapped entirely by the new Farming Minister, Mark Spencer.
The Landworkers’ Alliance, alongside other allied food, farming and environmental organisations, have been working hard in recent years to support a move away from area-based farm subsidy payments in England, and guide ELMS in a direction that can best support a just transition to a more sustainable food system that benefits farmers, communities and the environment.
ELMS has been designed to reward practices like good soil management, nutrient management, integrated pest management, and agroforestry. And while we realise that progress has been slow and communication to farmers has been inadequate to give them the rassure they need, we believe that a central reason for these failings is that the ELMS is seriously underfunded.
What farmers need is more ambition and financial commitment from the government to support them through the transition, reassure them that they won’t go out of business, and give them the security they need to plan for the future.
We believe that the continuation of an ambitious ELMS in England is not only crucial to building long-term food security and sustainable growth in the agriculture sector, but it’s also vital to improving animal welfare and protecting our climate, biodiversity levels, soil health and waterways.
We are asking for your support in calling on the new Farming Minister, Mark Spencer, the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Thérèse Coffey to commit to rolling out ELMS as quickly as possible, and to continue to increase the ambition and budget of the scheme over time.