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ADBA responds to Defra update on Environmental Land Management

ADBA welcomes the announcement from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the publication of further information on the Environmental Land Management Schemes. While ADBA appreciates the inclusion of a nutrient management standard under the SFI, it is disappointing that the focus of this standard is on nutrient accounting rather than management of organic wastes through AD.  

Today, Thérèse Coffey announced that the rollout of the full Sustainable Farming Incentive will be sped up with 6 additional standards being announced. Meanwhile the Countryside Stewardship Plus programme will be expanded and encompass the ambitions set out under Local Nature Recovery standard.  

The plans support promises given by Farming Minister Mark Spencer earlier this month at the Oxford Farming Conference to increase payment rates for those farmers who choose to pursue the Sustainable Farming Incentive. Payment increases are intended to cover administration costs for farmers by paying £20 per hectare for the first 50 hectares of farmland within the agreement, equating to an additional £1,000 a year. 

Of particular relevance to the AD sector, one of the new standards under the SFI will be a nutrient management standard which will pay farmers to assess and report on nutrients and management plans on their farms. The aim of this standard is to nudge farmers to undertake further action to manage nutrients for environmental benefits.  

Countryside Stewardship will see an additional 30 actions become available to farmers by the end of 2024, building on the 250 actions already available. The Higher-Tier of Countryside Stewardship will open in February with the Mid-Tier opening in March.  

It is hoped that the clarity provided by today’s information release will simplify the application process for farmers and allow them to build payments from the schemes into their business plans.  

Greater flexibility has been integrated into the updated standards making it simpler for tenant farmers to access higher tier options. Shorter 3-year agreements have been introduced without the need for landlord consent and no penalties if a farmer exists the scheme early.  

Full guidance has been published and can be found here: Environmental Land Management (ELM) update: how government will pay for land-based environment and climate goods and services – GOV.UK ( with ADBA analysis to follow.  

The full press release can be found here: Thérèse Coffey: Farmers central to food production and environmental action – GOV.UK (  

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