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Environmental Land Management Schemes

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

15. What steps her Department is taking to support farmers through environmental land management schemes. (903666)

We published an update on our environmental land management schemes on 26 January. We have worked to ensure that there is something for everyone; we are expanding the sustainable farming incentive offer and launching a new round of the landscape recovery scheme this year. We will expand and enhance our popular countryside stewardship scheme later.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. The £168 million farming investment fund, the six new standards in the SFI and the ELMS prospectus are good news and good progress, but I know from the National Farmers Union conference this week and from conversations with the Buckinghamshire committee of the Country Land and Business Association that detail is still missing that would give farmers the long-term certainty they need. I urge him to get the full detail of the schemes on the table as soon as possible.

We will continue to publish more information on our environmental land management schemes this year. That includes further details by the summer on the new actions that will be made available through the sustainable farming incentive and the countryside stewardship scheme.

I am not usually a fan of Jeremy Clarkson, but I have been absolutely addicted to his television programme and the ventures of Diddly Squat farm. Does the Minister agree that that programme gives people a real insight into the bureaucracy and complications of the schemes? It is very complicated for farmers who want to earn a living and feed the nation. Will he visit Clarkson’s farm to give him a bit of support?

I join the hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to Mr Clarkson and what he is doing to advertise what is happening in the agricultural sector and some of the challenges it faces. The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that the series was filmed before we announced lots of the detail about our ELM schemes, so some of the criticisms that are levelled at the Department have now been resolved and that information is out there. Mr Clarkson is, however, communicating with a different generation about the challenges of food production.