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Environment and Biodiversity at the heart of Agriculture talks

  • 20th December 2023

Forrester Boyd and law firm Shakespeare Martineau, along with guest speaker Chris Winney, recently delivered an update to Agriculture clients about the impacts and opportunities of Environmental Land Managements Systems (ELMS) and Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG).

As the sector heads towards the end of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), attendees heard from Chris Winney, Head of TAG Consulting who discussed the opportunities around the Sustainable Farming Incentive Scheme, part of the ELMS package. With so many elements within the ELMS package, there are numerous opportunities for farmer and land owners to consider layering various schemes together to ensure they can maximise the environmental guidance that DEFRA has published.

When the government first announced they were going to abolish the BPS in favour of sustainable farming incentives, many farmers were rightly concerned about the viability of the farming sector. With the introduction of EMSL and BNG, Agriculture Partner from Forrester Boyd Chartered Accountants Nicola Massey stated “government really needs to look at the definition of farming as it no longer fits into schemes such as ELMS and BNG in its current state”.

Amy Cowdell, Agriculture Partner from law firm Shakespeare Martineau explained to the audience more about the regulatory side of the BNG secondary legislation. One of the key things that is a recurring theme within this legislation is being ‘nature positive’. As of January 2024, it will be mandatory that any land development MUST put back at least 10% more habitat than it removes. There are options for the purchase of offsite land for biodiversity banking and other ways to mitigate the impact. As society becomes more and more environmentally conscious, there are many large organisations looking at how they can get involved in BNG projects to improve their CSR.

Any farmer or landowner looking at ELMS and BNG should ensure they have an experienced agronomist, financial and legal partner on board to help smooth the way and ensure that they are making the most of all the different options available to them.

Read more on: Agriculture

Written by: Nicola Massey

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