Applications for the second phase of Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) tests and trials closed earlier this year, and we received over 200 proposals. We are currently reviewing them against the priority gaps from Phase 1. In future, we will issue specific calls for proposals where appropriate to collect evidence that will help to inform policy development and any gaps we have identified within our tests and trials.
In addition we are conducting a series of iterative workshops with several Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund (CSFF) groups to discuss land management plans and collaborative working. The purpose of our workshops with CSFF groups are to enable us to work directly with farmers and land managers to hear their thoughts, suggestions and ideas, rather than working through intermediary organisations as we often do with stakeholder proposals. We are using the workshops to help facilitate culture change and a new way of thinking about the environment, as well as providing information about ELM development to future users.
We have completed two rounds of workshops and we are considering options for how we take these forward to ensure we get the most from the opportunity to engage with farmers and land managers through CSFF groups. We will be in touch with CSFF groups shortly on how we hope to take these forward, including feedback from the first two rounds of workshops.