To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to change the operation of (1) the environmental stewardship schemes, and (2) other aspects of the farm payment regime, in England in (a) 2018, and (b) subsequent years.
We are making four new simple Countryside Stewardship packages available in 2018 for agreements starting in 2019. Farmers applying for one of these packages will only need to select a small number of core options (a minimum of 2 or 3) from between 7 and 14 options, depending on the offer. Every farmer who applies for one of these packages and who meets the basic criteria will receive an agreement. We have significantly simplified the application form for these packages. The paper forms for the new offers are half the size of the current form. Arable farmers will be able to apply for the Arable package online. We have also increased the maximum grant available for Hedgerows and Boundaries from £5,000 to £10,000. We will continue to look for further simplification of the schemes for 2019.
Leaving the EU will allow us to take back control of our policies on agriculture and the environment. The Government has pledged to work with farmers, food producers and environmental experts to devise a new environmental land management system to be introduced in the following Parliament. This will include working together to inform scheme design and to test and pilot new scheme elements.