Farmers and land managers from the North York Moors National Park have had their say on a proposed new land management scheme that aims to deliver positive outcomes for both the environment and people’s livelihoods.
Between January and February 2020 farmers and land managers within the National park were asked to complete a questionnaire on Defra’s proposed Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs), which is due to be rolled out in 2024.
Under the new initiative, farmers will be paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife. This will replace the schemes currently available under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The questionnaire was put together to help the National Park Authority identify which ‘public goods’, as set out in Defra’s 25-year Environment Plan, farmers and land managers want to deliver. This includes: clean air, clean water, reduction in environmental hazards and pollution, thriving plants and wildlife, mitigation & adaptation to climate change, and enhanced landscape.
Following analysis of 365 questionnaires, farmers and land managers showed high levels of willingness to deliver all six of the public goods with thriving plants and wildlife coming out on top. The others were only narrowly behind and based on a scale of 1 -10 (where 1 is 'very unwilling' and 10 is 'very willing' to deliver that public good) all ranked on average above 7.
In order to further assess the willingness of farmers and land managers to deliver these benefits, respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with eleven statements, such as: ‘I believe food production and the delivery of public goods can go hand in hand on the same farm’.