Monday, January 07, 2019

Public goods scheme may run into trouble

The Government's intention to switch to public goods payments for farmers after Brexit may fall foul of the poor record of implementation of existing agri-environmental schemes. About 30 per cent of the farmers signed up to the various green programmes are still waiting for payments from 2017.

Payments often come up to a year late. By the government's own assessment, delivery of the country stewardship scheme has 'fallen short' and 'the situation is unacceptable' according to the latest annual report from Natural England.

The new schemes are likely to be even more complex and will have more money going through them, making even more delays likely.

Given the likely complexities of making applications, farmers could simply opt to farm their land more intensively, reversing previous environmental gains.

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