Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich highlights need to encourage farmers engagement with Environmental Land Management Scheme

The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich spoke during a debate on a motion to approve new regulations on direct payments to farmers, highlighting the need for support for farmers to engage with Environmental Land Management Schemes:

The Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich: My Lords, I shall follow the comments that we have just heard. I declare a new interest as the president-elect of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, where we see the issues that have just been described in the uplands similarly in small family farms in Suffolk.

By and large, the farmers that I speak to want to embrace the ELM scheme and many of them are doing so. What those who are embracing it are saying to me about those who are not yet doing so is that somehow the scheme needs to be made more attractive, the incentives need to be increased—particularly for the smaller family farmers—and the process simplified in some way so that they can gain access to the scheme. I understand that His Majesty’s Government are seeking to achieve 80% take-up of ELMS by 2030. I ask the Minister where we are with that at the moment and what he sees as the possibilities of accelerating and incentivising the take-up by those who, as we heard earlier, might need hand-holding in that process.


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