Thank you for contacting me about the Environmental Land Management schemes.
I am aware that the Government intends to open the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) in June. The scheme will start with three standards, focusing on arable and improved grassland soils. The SFI is open to all farmers eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme, and this eligibility will be extended in future years.
Through the scheme, farmers will be paid up to £58 per hectare to deliver measures to improve the health and fertility of their soil. The funds will support the testing of soils, planting of winter cover crops and the incorporation of organic matter. I understand that in future years, more standards will be available, with the full set of standards in place by 2025. Future standards may include hedgerows and Integrated Pest Management.
Regarding other schemes, Local Nature Recovery will pay for locally-targeted actions to make space for nature in the farmed landscape and the wider countryside, alongside food production. This could include managing and creating habitats, adding trees to fields or hedgerows or restoring peat or wetland areas. I understand that this scheme is planned to begin a phased roll out from 2023.
The Landscape Recovery scheme will initially focus on biodiversity, water quality and net zero. The Government will fund projects that contribute to these outcomes over a long period and through substantial changes to land use and habitats. The Government has already launched the application process for the first round of Landscape Recovery projects, and this will be open until 24 May 2022.
I recognise the depth of your concerns and am glad that you have written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to raise your concerns with him. I would like to assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely in Parliament.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP