Government cannot tackle the nature and climate crises without transformational reform of farming policy to help build a resilient nature positive farming sector. We have a once in a generation opportunity to achieve this, which is why The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB are deeply concerned that Government seems to be putting these vital reforms in peril.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a scathing report into Defra’s progress, planning and delivery of the new environmental land management schemes (ELM) – its keystone farming policy.
The report finds that Defra is at risk of jeopardising the delivery of this vital policy and concludes that this is “creating risks to environmental outcomes and value for money”. The report finds that this is because “ELM is not yet underpinned by a strong set of objectives and Defra’s planning is too short-term in its focus.” It is completely unacceptable that Government still cannot articulate how ELM will help deliver its own environmental commitments, such as halting the loss of species abundance or achieving net zero.