All Articles


Environmental Land Management

With the gradual phasing out of the Basic Payment Scheme comes the new form of support payments called the Environmental Land Management Scheme or ELM for short. This latest DEFRA publication has brought slightly more certainty to how these payments can be achieved however it is clear that the finer details of this scheme is still to be determined.

ELM can be split into the following categories:

Tier 1 Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) Manage land in an environmentally sustainable way, similar to simple Mid-Tier schemes Available to all BPS recipients (including current CS holders)
Tier 2 Local Nature & Recovery Locally specific priorities and options Available to certain farmers and land managers
Tier 3 Landscape Recovery Long term, landscape-scale recovery (including rewilding and woodland planting) Available to certain farmers and land managers


The latest publication has now confirmed the following:

  1. The scheme will pay farmers and land managers for contributions to protection of water, air, environmental hazards, mitigation against climate change and finally improving the wildlife and heritage of the countryside.


  1. This scheme will be rolled out in full in 2024 however the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) aspect of the scheme will be available in 2022.


  1. The aim is for ELM to be more accessible, flexible and more focussed on outcomes. The RPA plan to achieve this by reducing prescriptions, fairer approaches to compliance and giving more choice to the applicant on start dates etc.


  1. Current Countryside Stewardship claimants will be able to roll their current agreements into ELM and it has been suggested that CS is the best route into ELM at this current stage. CS and ELM can run alongside each other, but payments cannot be achieved for the same action. CS schemes will be honoured, and extensions offered where appropriate.


  1. Test and Trials are currently being carried out and a wider Pilot Scheme will be available to those willing to help co-design the future scheme. Reports on these trials will be published in 2021 and payment will be available to participants.


  1. Payment methods are yet to be confirmed but several different methods are currently being trailed, including payment-by-results, tendering and income foregone.


Going forward, details of the early SFI scheme will be published by June 2021, including payment rates and options available. All three ELM components will be fully available from October 2024.

If you would like to learn more about ELM Schemes, how it will be rolled-out and how you can get involved in the ELM Pilot please feel free to contact a member of our team.