Forests: Subsidies

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 4 October 2019.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her Department's plan is for supporting new woodland establishment and tree planting during the transition period from the existing Countryside Stewardship scheme to the new Environmental Land Management Schemes being fully established by 2024.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We will ensure there is a smooth transition from the Countryside Stewardship scheme to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs). No one in an existing Countryside Stewardship agreement will be unfairly disadvantaged when we transition to new arrangements under the ELMs.

New Countryside Stewardship agreements, including supporting new woodland creation, restocking and management, will continue to be available in the first few years of the agricultural transition period. Signing a Countryside Stewardship agreement provides a viable, long-term source of income for delivering environmental benefits. The Woodland Carbon Fund and the HS2 Woodland Fund are also currently open to new applications from farmers and landowners who can meet the criteria for funding.

The ELMs will be open from the second half of 2024 and is founded on the principal of “public money for public goods”. It is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the Governments 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Public goods that ELMs will incentivise include: thriving plants and wildlife; protection from environmental hazards and mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Activities to be paid for may include tree planting and woodland creation, and woodland management, including through natural regeneration.

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