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Agriculture: Environment Protection

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 163300, tabled on 4 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether Environment Land Management scheme pilots will feed directly into his Department’s preparation of a Biomass Strategy.

Answered on

12 March 2021

The pilots for schemes that reward environmental land management will build on the excellent work of our ongoing 'Tests and Trials', which involve around 3000 farmers and land managers across England.

The pilots will assemble the concepts explored in the tests and trials into fully functioning prototype schemes, and work with farmers to see what works and what doesn't, fixing problems as we go. The pilots will run for three years, with applications opening in the spring and the first pilot, of the Sustainable Farming Incentive, commencing in October.

We report the evidence and learning from tests and trials in real time to inform the pilots and wider Defra policy. Evidence from the pilots will start to come through during 2022.

The Government has made a commitment to develop and publish a new cross-government Biomass Strategy by 2022. Defra is working closely with BEIS on this. The strategy will consider how biomass should be sourced and used across the economy to best contribute to our net zero target. We are looking carefully at how to ensure any push to biomass minimises impacts on food security and the environment.

The Government will set out more details of its thinking in the forthcoming Energy White Paper and issue a call for evidence. This will be used to inform the Biomass Strategy development in the context of net zero.