‘Payment by Results’ pilot scheme given green light
“I am delighted to extend this scheme and look forward to seeing further evidence of its success as we plan for our future outside the EU,” said Michael Gove.
The popular PBR pilot scheme from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has been granted extended funding. A boost of £540,000 was announced to pay farmers according to the environmental outcomes they achieve over the next two years.
The scheme was initially run by the government agency Natural England, but in future, funding will come from DEFRA. This scheme is set to replace the European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) payments, and other agricultural-environmental schemes when Brexit occurs.
The pilot programme is paying farmers in Norfolk, Suffolk and Wensleydale for work specifically tailored to the environmental needs of their areas. One example is planting nectar plots for honeybees and other pollinators, with another focusing on managing species-rich meadows.
Secretary of state for DEFRA, Michel Gove said, “under the CAP, agri-environment schemes have been overly bureaucratic and inflexible. This has impeded innovation for farmers who are passionate about the environment and want to see real change.
“The Payment by Results pilot marks a shift in how we think about rewarding farmers for their work. This approach signals how we see the future of farm payments, where farmers deliver public goods for the environment which we all enjoy.
“I am delighted to extend this scheme and look forward to seeing further evidence of its success as we plan for our future outside the EU.”
Sustain, an alliance advocating for food and agriculture practices and policies, encouraged this approach and proposed a new ‘Land Management Support Scheme’ with three elements, an organic scheme, a whole-farm scheme and a menu of outcomes. Sustain also mentioned that it is crucial that measurable results are delivered and that all farmers can access the new schemes.
The project was to be concluded at the end of this year, but the new funding means that farmers in the scheme will be able to continue delivering environmental benefits. The trial also focuses on providing training to farmers, so when the scheme does eventually end, they will feel more knowledgeable about managing their land.