A new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) that will replace current farming schemes is being tested in the Lake District.
As the UK is leaving the European Union there will be changes to payments that farmers receive so it’s important for the Lake District to be involved to help shape any future approach.
The Lake District National Park Authority is working with local landowners and farmers to test a new approach for land management to help find the best way forward in delivering public goods.
The Authority’s dedicated farming officer Andrea Meanwell has been working on an ELMS test and trial in the Keswick area, which will continue until October. A second test and trial, led by John Bowman of Natural England, is also taking place in the Waver Wampool catchment in the north of the county near the Solway.
Lake District National Park Farming Officer, Andrea Meanwell said: “We are working with farmers and land managers to identify what they consider to be the public goods in their area and on their farms, and producing in depth plans to map this.
“We’re looking at the wide range of assets that Cumbria has and trying to record these. It is an important and very interesting project, and could have a positive impact on the future land management schemes in the UK. I am hoping to work with 10 farms in detail, between now and October.”
These tests are looking at everything that can be classed as public goods and the type of things being considered as part of this pilot vary from nature friendly ways of farming, flood management measures, rights of way for public access, ancient woodlands, native breeds of livestock, plants, soils including peat, to cultural heritage and the historic environment.
Keswick Hill farmer Will Cockbain has been involved in the process. He said:
“I welcome the fact that the Lake District National Park Authority are carrying out testing for the new scheme and are looking at the full range and scope of what constitutes public goods, it is vital the new scheme is practical, retains our rural skills base, delivers for the environment and landscape, recognises culture and heritage and contributes to economic sustainability for farm businesses.”
The Lake District ELMS Test is one of 44 tests around England, funded by Defra, to shape the future of farming. The next stage is to launch national pilots of ELMS late next year and the hope is that the fully adopted ELMS will be rolled out in 2024.
Photo shows Andrea Meanwell, LDNPA farming officer showing a Herdwick sheep at the Stoneside Shepherds meet.