Upland farmers could boost their earnings by running environmental management schemes in a post-Common Agricultural Policy era, a new report has claimed.
The Green Alliance and National Trust’s Natural Infrastructure Scheme (NIS) in Practice report says farmers should be urged to take on private water management contracts funded by businesses potentially affected by flooding events.
In many current schemes, farmers have no responsibility for the outcomes being sought from such schemes, whether they are increases to biodiversity, improvements to water quality or flood risk improvements.
But the NIS proposal would be that, for example, a group of farmers in a specific area would own and run the flood management scheme, with organisations such as utilities firms and rail operators, which have a vested interest in protecting downstream areas, paying the group for their work.
Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director of the National Trust, said: “Rather than being paid for how much land you happen to farm, a new model which delivers clear public benefit from public money is within reach after Brexit.
“The NIS will open up new avenues for business to play its part in restoring a healthy, functioning natural environment. We need to grab this chance to make farming fit for the future.”
For more on the report, click here.