Environmental Land Management Strategic Knowledge Exchange Hub (ELMS-Exchange)

Supporting industry initiatives and policy around ELMS

The Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) – the policy framework created by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – is integral to the UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The Scheme will see a significant shift in agricultural and land management decision making, aiming to promote sustainable farming practices that support the recovery of local nature and improve food production.
<p>walking across soil</p>

Rewarding environmental land management

Under the ELM scheme farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for managing their land to deliver the following:
  • clean and plentiful water
  • clean air
  • thriving plants and wildlife
  • protection from environmental hazards
  • reduction of and adaptation to climate change
  • beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment.
Research at the University of Plymouth will help inform best practice to achieving these outcomes.

Working across the whole system 

In light of developing environmental policy, the ELMS-Exchange Hub brings together research and development expertise from across the University to deliver relevant data and evidence. 
The Hub will take a systems-thinking approach, uniting a range of disciplines from across the natural and social sciences, to collaboratively shape projects that tackle knowledge and evidence gaps. The aim will be to support the region during this time of change, aligning university research to emerging environmental land management agendas and collaborating with environmental sector partners, assisting them to deliver evidence to support evolving policy instruments.

Guiding research and development

The two-year programme (2022–2024) will build partnerships with the agricultural industry, initially in the South West and work alongside policy regulators and advisors, to co-design a series of Knowledge Exchange and Research and Development projects. 
Initial work will focus on conducting workshops with key stakeholders and establishing pilot projects with external partners. Stakeholder workshops will be facilitated by the Sustainable Soils Alliance, an organisation experienced in fostering impactful conversations around policy and science. The workshops and pilot projects will provide guidance for the next generation of ELMS-related research, supporting farmers and policymakers by contributing to evidence bases required to adapt to new schemes and implement them effectively.
<p>Prof Will Blake</p>
“ELMS will drive the greatest shift in agriculture and land management decision-making since the post-World War Two productivist agendas of the mid-20th Century. Its focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity regeneration and sustainable food production, aligns with our own goals of supporting the commercial environment and agri-industry.
There is, however, risk associated with the introduction of such a major policy change. ELMS-Exchange will help to mitigate that, using our research capacity to provide future environmental intelligence and align it with the demands of both policy and industry.”

Project highlights

The research team have been busy working on a variety of events for this programme. Delve further into the project highlights; from a collaborative workshop in partnership with the Sustainable Soils Alliance, to getting stuck into soil assessment fieldwork. 
Updates on upcoming activity that the team are involved in will also be added to this timeline in due course.   
<p>Aerial view of Dartmouth farmland</p>


Sustainable Earth Institute 

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.

We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. 

We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

Find out more about the institute

<p>Baobab tree in Madagascar</p>