UK confirms £540k boost to reward farmers for environmental outcomes

It is the first agri-environment scheme to be directly funded by the UK

By Priyanka Shrestha

A scheme that pays farmers according to the environmental outcomes they achieve has received a £540,000 boost.

The Payment by Results (PBR) pilot is the first agri-environment scheme to be directly funded by the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

It was a European Commission pilot project that had been due to finish at the end of this year but the £540,000 boost from Defra will fund the scheme for the next two years.

The government will pay participating farmers in Norfolk and Suffolk in the East of England and Wensleydale in Yorkshire for work that is specifically tailored to the environmental needs of their area.

The trial is focused on providing training and guidance for farmers so they can create their own management plan for their land and achieve environmental objectives.

Further work exploring how profitable farm businesses and environmental land management can co-exist and complement one another is to be trialled.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Under the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy], 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 Payments 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.”