Catchment to coast aerial
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.
walking across soil
Under the ELMS 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

Achieving positive outcomes through the ELMS-Exchange

In light of developing environmental policy, the programme will adopt 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.
Over two years (2022-2024), the ELMS-Exchange will aim to support the region during this time of change, connecting university research to emerging environmental land management agendas and engaging with agricultural sector partners, assisting them to deliver evidence aligned to evolving policy instruments.
Initially in the South West, the ELMS-Exchange will provide guidance for the next generation of ELMS-related research through stakeholder workshops and development of pilot projects with external partners.
Collaborating with policy regulators and advisors, the team will co-design a series of Knowledge Exchange and Research and Development projects. Workshops will be facilitated by the Sustainable Soils Alliance, an organisation experienced in fostering impactful conversations around policy and science. Such activities will support farmers and policymakers by contributing to evidence bases required to adapt to new schemes and implement them effectively.
Prof Will Blake
“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.”

ELMS-Exchange activities

A breadth of collaborative activities which focus on developing partnerships with the environmental sector and agricultural industry stakeholders will be taking place across the duration of the two-year ELMS-Exchange programme. 
Initially, the team will focus on conducting workshops and establishing pilot projects with external partners. These are expected to provide evidence bases and guidance to support the implementation of new policy for the environment and food production. 
ELMS-Exchange Workshop Carey Marks Illustration


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. 

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