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This conference focused on the future for agricultural land use and management in the UK.
Delegates assessed what has been learned from the launch of the first ELM scheme, and the Sustainable Farming Incentive, against the backdrop of the land use policy update announced in the Government Food Strategy, and with a new land use framework scheduled for publication in 2023.
It was an opportunity to discuss the direction of policy under new political leadership - with Defra denying media reports that the Government is considering scrapping Environmental Land Schemes - alongside wider developments in policy relating to biodiversity, environmental protection and net-zero transition.
Overall, sessions in the agenda included:
- policy - land use and agricultural policy in England - the perspective of devolved administrations - the future direction of UK strategy and policy under new Government leadership
- ELMs - learning from the pilot projects - evaluating launch and impact - assessing support made available for skills and innovation - priorities for policy amidst changing pressures on agriculture
- implementation - implications of varying policy options - priorities for guidance, funding and access to the schemes - priorities for innovation and new practices - skills and workforce support
- nature restoration and biodiversity protection - the way forward for building a climate-resilient agricultural system
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Jonathan Baker, Head of Programme Policy and Strategy, Future Farming & Countryside Programme, Defra; Professor Janet Dwyer, Member, Food, Farming & Countryside Commission Advisory Group; David Baldock, Senior Fellow, Agriculture and Land Management, Institute for European Environmental Policy; and Edward Vipond, Farms Manager, Troston Farms who will share lessons and progress from experience of the pilot projects so far.
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the CCS; Defra; DAERA, NI; Department of Finance NI; Food Standards Scotland; Forestry Commission; Geospatial Commission; Northern Ireland Environment Agency; and the Welsh Government - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from both Houses of Parliament.