Environmental Land Management Schemes: Water

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28 April 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to introduce incentives under the environmental land management schemes to hold water through (a) large and (b) small schemes.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Water storage can have multiple environmental benefits such as the provision of water resources and flood risk management.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive and Local Nature Recovery will support actions that improve smaller scale water storage and the slowing of run-off throughout the landscape. For example, paying for actions that improve soil structure can improve water infiltration, benefiting water quality, resources and flood mitigation. This will contribute to slowing water flows in large areas of the country. Landscape Recovery will support water storage and inundation associated with restoring and reconnecting rivers with their floodplains.

Through these schemes, farmers will be able to choose to manage their land differently, and put in place approaches which are which are compatible with the environmental needs of the catchment.

These voluntary actions implemented through the schemes will make a significant contribution to flood water storage and inundation management. They may reduce the need for the Environment Agency to put in place larger scale flood storage areas as part of its capital programme. However, these types of schemes will continue to be part of the range of tools that we use for managing flood risks.

In autumn 2021, we also launched the Farming Investment Fund, formed of two strands. The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will support smaller investments from a prescribed list of items. The Farming Transformation Fund will support more substantial investments in equipment, technology or infrastructure, including, on-farm reservoirs and related infrastructure.

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