Lizzie is working with a group of local farmers, landowners and smallholders as part of DEFRA’s Test & Trials programme, which will inform future policy for the Environmental Land Management Schemes.
DEFRA Test & Trial – Phase 1
From September 2020 – June 2021, I ran a DEFRA Test & Trial with 10 local farmers, landowners and smallholders to develop a Land Management Plan. We proposed to DEFRA that the best basis for a Land Management Plan is an interactive map.
The Test & Trial used Google My Maps as the mapping software, which enabled the participants to start with a blank canvas. They mapped their field boundaries along with the public goods they are currently delivering and those they would like to deliver in future. They linked to evidence to support what they had added to the map, such as photos, videos, species lists, and soil test results.
If you would like to have a go at creating your own Google My Map for your land, feel free to download the guidance documents produced for the Test & Trial:
Here is an example of a live map to test out.
DEFRA Test & Trial – phase 2
In February 2022, I started a second Test & Trial. This time we will be concentrating on testing a blended finance approach. That is, bringing funds from both the public and private sector to deliver environmental benefits.
As well as the 10 participants who took part in the first Test & trial, this Phase will include a further 10 farmers/landowners. It will run for two years and will involve the following steps:
- The farmers, landowners and smallholders will propose projects they would like to deliver on their land;
- The group will build an online platform to showcase their projects;
- Four projects will be selected by the participants and these will go to Harper Adams University, Natural Capital Solutions and 3Adapt. The task for these three organisations is to assign a monetary value to the public goods that these projects will deliver over a given time period. For example, the public goods delivered by a hedgerow may include sequestering carbon, providing a habitat for wildlife, connecting existing habitats, infiltrating water, etc.
- The participants will have the opportunity to review the financial value assigned to each of the projects and discuss the methodology with the organisations.
- Once the participants are satisfied, they will approach four private funders and ask whether they would like to fund the public goods that each project will deliver.
- Milestone 1 Report – To evaluate the current level of understanding of blended finance among 20 farmers/landowners in South Shropshire and draw out levels of interest/concern on entering into private finance agreements in the future.
There are 9 milestones in total. Reports from each milestone will be posted here when completed.
We need a balance between having a system that is easy enough for all landowning/farming families to use, but one that is not too simplistic for what we want to achieve.
— Test & Trial participant