Paying farmers for natural flood management

Photocredit: Andrew Walker, Yorkshire Water

A group of farmers are at the heart of an iCASP project which will be supporting the trial of a new national scheme for paying land managers to deliver benefits such as healthy soil or an increase in bees and other pollinators. The National Trust and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are running a ‘Payment for Outcomes’ trial with a group of  tenant farmers in the Yorkshire Dales which will help to test the feasibility of Defra’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).

Although the trial is currently focused on pollinators and soil health, by drawing down the expertise from other iCASP projects, it can now explore how natural flood management could also be delivered through this approach. This has not been done in any such trial before. The approach itself is also novel because farmers receive a payment on the basis of achieving certain ‘outcomes’ rather than for implementing certain measures. This gives them some flexibility in determining how they achieve the desired outcomes and they will also be involved in monitoring the results of their actions.