Farming and land management

People have shaped Cannock Chase over thousands of years through the way they have used and managed the land. Farming alongside other land uses like forestry, mineral extraction, recreation and nature conservation will continue to play a vital role in its future.

Unusually for a protected landscape, the majority of the land in Cannock Chase (56%) is owned by public organisations, with charities owning a further 7%. The remaining 37% is in multiple private ownership. Every landowner or land manager, whether public or private, can help to keep Cannock Chase special.

Change is coming – the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM)

The face of UK agriculture is changing.  From 2021 direct payments (the Basic Payment Scheme - BPS) will be phased out in the lead up to the roll out of a new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM) in 2024 which will focus on:

  • Improving the environment
  • Improving animal health and welfare
  • Reducing carbon emissions

The new Environmental Land Management Scheme is being designed as we speak, with pilots taking place from 2021 onwards.  Read Defra’s latest guidance about ELM (3 MB)

As ELM won’t be rolled out until 2024, it’s important that farmers and land managers look at other agri-environment schemes to keep income coming in as the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is reduced.

The Agricultural Transition Plan (ATP)

The government has released its Agricultural Transition Plan, which gives more information on what will happen during the changeover between BPS and ELM.

The government’s ATP press release is available online. There is also a leaflet for farmers and land managers that contains information on what will happen during the ATP, how BPS is being reduced, and options for other sources of funding.

If you would like more detailed information on the ATP it’s available on the website.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Applications for Mid Tier Countryside Stewardship packages that commence on 1 January 2022 (including the Wildlife Offers) are now open and close on 31 July 2021 (30 April for capital only applications). Details can be viewed on the website.

If you are thinking of applying for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier this year, support and advice is available through Natural England agents operating in the West Midlands by booking onto an online event. These events will provide you with guidance and information including how the scheme works, who is eligible and what the environmental priorities are in your local area.

Farming in Protected Landscapes

The government recognises that farmers and landowners in protected landscapes (AONBs and National Parks) are providing huge environmental, social and cultural benefits.

To help them prepare for these changes, from April 2021-24 Defra is introducing a new ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’ scheme. This will provide advice and funding for those in nationally protected landscapes to manage the natural environment, cultural heritage and public access. The details of this scheme are still being prepared, but it appears it will be delivered through the AONBs and National Parks themselves.

Support for farmers and land managers in Cannock Chase AONB

In preparation for the new Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme, Cannock Chase AONB Partnership has been contacting farmers and land managers who own or manage land within or in close proximity to Cannock Chase AONB. To help with this task, we appointed DJM Consulting and Arbor Vitae - two local rural consultancy firms with experience and expertise in land management.

Further updates on agri-environment schemes will be posted on this page as soon as we get more details.