Environmental Stewardship Scheme

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Rural Payments Agency is able to efficiently manage (a) Countryside Stewardship and (b) Environmental Stewardship payments; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Performance on stewardship schemes has not been satisfactory. Both I and the Secretary of State are engaging with the RPA to improve the process and I have regular contact with the Rural Payments Agency’s (RPA) Chief Executive. Since the transfer of work last October, we have supported the RPA in securing the resources needed to make inroads into the backlog and get vital payments out to agreement holders.

In parallel, the RPA has made IT improvements and streamlined processes for new and existing agreements, to get the payment rounds on a better footing, get agreement holders back into the position they should be in, and make the schemes a more attractive proposition going forward.

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