Article

Landscape Recovery

21st February 2024

Landscape Recovery (“LR”) is one of the limbs of the Environmental Land Management Scheme. LR is intended to support landowners and managers to take a long-term approach to producing environmental and climate goods on a large scale. The intention is that it should involve large areas and so collaboration by a number of landowners.

Many of the projects are presently in the development stage, where funding is available from Defra to work up the project plus the legal structures that will take it forward. The nature of the project will determine what these will be – co-ops, community bodies and corporate vehicles are all possible – and the contracts the main body puts in place with the landowner.

To be successful, the groups are expected to show how the project will be developed and the availability of long-term funding. During the development period, the project will be tested against possible outcomes. It will require a long-term commitment from land managers and owners generally of at least 20 years, though there are some longer schemes proposed.

There will be some state funding for the project once it is in place – for instance; Natural England and water quality or nutrient neutrality schemes – but the intention is that the longer term return will come through private funding. This is likely to include the sale of Biodiversity Net Gain, Carbon or Nutrient Neutrality credits or investment from businesses looking to enhance the value derived from their Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance . Defra’s indication is that payments will be in the range of £200 to £900 per hectare per year, the rates being benchmarked against other government schemes.

However, much has to be decided before landowners will fully commit: how long will each project be, what are the obligations on the landowner at the end, what will the tax treatment be, and what will be the effect on the rest of the farm and other funding? Clarification is needed to improve take up and ensure the success of the projects in development.