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Farms: Tenants

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL1927, tabled on 12 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 29 June (HL1134), what plans they have to ensure that those with farm business tenancies will not be excluded from taking part in the long-term commitments for soil, biodiversity and landscape envisaged by the Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery elements of the Environmental Land Management Scheme where landlords are unwilling to grant consent.

Answered on

27 July 2021

We are engaging with a wide range of farmers and land managers to inform the development of our Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes, including tenant farmers and landlords. We want to ensure that the schemes are designed in a way that works for all, so all farmers and land managers can be supported to maximise the delivery of environmental outcomes while ensuring effective use of public money.

The Government is aware that a key concern for many tenant farmers is receiving payments for environmental benefits despite not owning the land. Our future schemes will put farmers, foresters and other land managers more in control of how they use their assets in order to deliver environmental outcomes. For the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Local Nature Recovery schemes we envisage that payments will be made to the person delivering the outcomes of the schemes. In Landscape Recovery we are exploring the role of bespoke agreements and payment approaches and tenancies will be considered as part of this.

Evidence shows that many landlords and tenants work together to find solutions to entering agri-environment schemes. To encourage this further the Tenancy Reform Industry Group have updated their best practice guide on how tenants and landlords can work together to deliver environmental schemes successfully. This includes encouraging a culture change within the sector to look at the opportunities that longer-term agreements offer in delivering productivity and environmental improvements which both landlords and tenants can benefit from.

We look forward to engaging further with stakeholders including tenant farmers and landlords as we develop the design of the three schemes.