measures mean mixed fortunes for farmers

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Strutt and Parker has warned that many lowland farmers will lose out under interim Environmental Stewardship Measures.

The business consultancy has said that large numbers of farmers will have to wait until 2015 for new schemes to be made available.

James Thomas, farming consultant in Strutt and Parker’s Cambridge office, said: “The new arrangements hold mixed fortunes for farmers. “Those in the Uplands and those delivering environmental benefits, either organic or on conventionally-farmed high environmental value sites, will be able to access continued funding.

“The ‘losers’ will be those lowland farmers who do not have a classic scheme or an Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement - these farmers will have to wait until the new schemes become available in 2015.

“A further sting in the tail is that the mandatory January 1 start dates under the new post 2015 schemes may mean that 2015 availability actually means a start date of 2016.”

The current funding programme expires at the end of December 2013 and the new programme will not begin until 2015.

All Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), uplands and HLS agreements starting before December 31 2013 will continue to the end of the agreement.

New schemes will be available to those agreements ending after January 1 2015 and HLS will be available for sites delivering the highest environmental benefits.

New ELS agreements will only be available for those coming out of classic scheme agreements, those in the Uplands who have never had a classic scheme agreement or been in ELS or who have an expiring ELS agreement and those wishing to enter Organic ELS.