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Link’s Agriculture Working Group seeks to conserve the natural and historic environment and improve animal welfare by seeking improvements to agriculture and land management policy.

Chair: Barnaby Coupe, The Wildlife Trusts
Vice Chair: Alice Groom, RSPB
Link: Hannah Blitzer, Senior Policy Officer

Update from the group:

Link continues to call for ambitious farm payments under the Government’s flagship ‘Environmental Land Management’ (ELM) policy such as its contribution to net zero, or a minimum threshold of 10% of farmland managed for nature.

Currently, eligible farmers and land managers can sign up to the ELM schemes. However, outstanding concerns remain over the delivery of ELM. With recent changes to the Ministerial team in Defra, Link understands that  Defra is likely to announce further changes to ELM in 2024. You can see a blog outlining what Link members want to see here. You can also find Link’s key recommendations for the ELM here.

Furthermore, while Defra has begun to assess the agricultural regulatory and enforcement system, this presently only centres around nutrient management, slurry and hedgerows  and does not address the broader recommendations made by Dame Glenys Stacey in 2018, which are still urgently needed to underpin investment of public money. There are also outstanding concerns around the end to cross compliance from 1 January 2024. Link has responded to Defra's consultation on hedgerows and is working with members to outline a vision for an ambitious regulatory baseline as a precondition for ELM  success.

The Agriculture Group works in coalition with other groups on agricultural peatland, climate change and the farming sector, and building the consensus on food, farming and nature. It also continues to support other Link working groups to protect natural habitats and wildlife species through nature-friendly and agroecological farming practices. 

For further information, contact Hannah Blitzer, Link’s Senior Policy Officer on Agriculture.

Last updated: December 2023

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