2023 is a pivotal year for agriculture in England. Final Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) forms were submitted in May, and we now transition to a period of delinked payments being made alongside financial support offered through Environmental Land Management schemes.
Things are moving quickly and changing rapidly. The best resource to find out exactly what is available at any moment in time is this page on the government website. It is updated regularly.
Below, and through links at the bottom of this page, we have also explained in basic terms what is happening, what is available currently, and where to go to get the best advice* and further details.
*Please note, FCN itself does not provide advice, and these pages have simply been designed to try to present information in a concise way. We endeavour to keep them as up-to-date as possible. Always consult with professionals when making business decisions.
BPS to Delinked Payments
The last ever BPS forms were required to be completed and submitted by 15th May 2023.
BPS and cross-compliance requirements are still in force until 31st December 2023.
From 2024 – 2027, delinked payments will be made. They’re ‘delinked’ because they don’t require land against which to set a claim. If you stop farming, or change the way you farm, you will still receive the payments.
To be eligible to receive delinked payments, you must have been eligible for, and claimed, BPS in 2023.
Delinked payments are calculated by taking the average of BPS payments made to you from 2020 to 2022. This ‘reference’ amount will reduce between 2024 and 2027 as progressive reductions are applied to the delinked payments each year.
Environmental Land Management Schemes
Three new schemes, created to support the rural economy and allow us to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, will reward environmental land management from 2024:
- Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI)
This scheme will pay farmers to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way. It is made up of a set of standards, which range from ‘hedgerows’ to ‘moorland’ to ‘nutrient management’. Each standard has a group of actions the farmer must undertake to receive the payment. Farmers can choose to apply for payment for as many or as few of the standards as they like.
- Countryside Stewardship
DEFRA have recently dropped the proposed introduction of Local Nature Recovery in favour of improving and expanding the existing Countryside Stewardship scheme. CS provides financial incentives for farmers, foresters and land managers to maintain and improve the environment, mostly (but not exclusively) using the following mechanisms:
– CS Higher Tier For multi-year management options and capital items for the most environmentally important sites. There is a window for applications
– CS Mid Tier and Wildlife Offers For multi-year management and capital grants, to improve diversity of wildlife, water and air quality, and flood management. There is a window for applications
– CS Capital Grants Three year agreements to achieve specific environmental agreements. Applications open all year round
– CS Facilitation Fund To bring together groups of people to collaborate to improve environmental outcomes in their area. There is a window for applications
- Landscape Recovery
Landscape Recovery will support long-term, large scale habitat restoration or land use change, and is open to individuals or groups to deliver projects on areas covering 500 – 5000 hectares.
Aside from the funding available through the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Countryside Stewardship, the following is also available:
- Farming in Protected Landscapes
- Create or improve woodland and protect tree health
- Farming Investment Fund