25 Year Environment Plan - Farm Diversification Challenges and Opportunities | Aardvark Environment Matters

25 Year Environment Plan - Farm Diversification Challenges and Opportunities

by Kirsty Lodge

The support given to farming communities over the years has, in principle, been unaltered, however it is now foreseen that in time the Government will require landowners to 'give back' to gain similar support. So what have we learnt from the recently published 25 Year Environment Plan?


The Government intentions are to transition away from the traditional system of support and replace the majority with a net gain approach like that currently used for biodiversity. Net gain approaches are likely to include wider natural capital benefits, flood protection, recreation, improved water and air quality.

As the landowners who participate in the biodiversity schemes already know, this comes at a cost to the farming business, and usually results in the reduction of land available for the farming practice itself, which is generally the main source of income. However, it would appear that this will become the main focus of farming subsidies in the future and more will need to be done to provide farming businesses with the tools to adapt to this change in both the short and long term.

With the protection of the environment becoming more prominent within the media and the tightening of protections within regulations over the recent years, our clients regularly find it difficult to strike a balance between expansion or diversification of their business and the environment around them. It can often be a frustration when authorities do not view such proposals as providing stability for those that ultimately provide us with enjoyment of the countryside. It is likely that this will continue to be a hurdle within both current and future legislation.

Over the past few years farming businesses have effectively taken on the renewable energy market, which has and will continue to provide alternative income streams for those involved. The market has changed considerably over the past couple of years, with both subsidies and political intervention playing a huge part in the uptake of new renewable energy developments such as solar, anaerobic digestion and wind. However, there are plenty of opportunities still available to those who wish to explore diversification and an initial feasibility of a landholding could provide the first step in providing some clarity of what is available.

With the Government now shifting the subsidy system to one which requires more benefits for society, there is no better time to start exploring the opportunity for environmental projects which create a positive gain for farming businesses in this period of uncertainty with our withdrawal from the EU.

Aardvark EM Ltd have consulted on over 800MW of energy projects in the UK and have an experienced team of consultants on hand to aid you through what can sometimes appear to be a challenging first step.

If you would like to enquire about potential projects or opportunities which may be of interest, please get in touch.

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