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We are considering changes to the proposals based on your feedback to co-design.

First published:
17 August 2023
Last updated:

Last year, we published the Outline Sustainable Farming Scheme and carried out an extensive co-design exercise. We recently published three reports on the outputs of co-design:

Some of the ideas we are considering based on co-design feedback:

A phased approach to scheme delivery

We received feedback on the number of changes some farmers will have to undertake all at once, and how challenging this could be. We are now considering introducing the Universal Actions only in 2025. This would allow time for these to bed in. We could introduce most of the Optional and Collaborative actions over the next few years. You would not have to complete the Universal Actions before the scheme starts.   

To make the scheme available to all from 2025

Farmers have asked how we would prioritise farms entering the scheme. We are considering making the scheme available to all eligible farms from 2025.

We intend to base scheme administration on familiar RPW Online processes. This would make the application process as easy as possible, using existing farm data where available.  We do not intend to have a competitive points-based application to prioritise applications.

Changes to proposed tree cover action

Existing woodlands and trees will count towards the 10% tree cover included in proposals. Following feedback, we are considering changes to how we might calculate the 10% threshold. There are several scenarios where tree planting is not feasible, such as:

  • some tenant farmers will not be able to plant trees due to restrictions within their tenancy agreement
  • peatlands and other priority habitats are not suitable for tree planting
  • you cannot plant on tracks, yards, buildings, ponds and other permanent features

We propose to adapt the action, so we do not ask for 10% of the entire holding. Once the unplantable areas have been identified, you would need tree cover on 10% of the remaining area.

You can find more information on these examples and other changes we are considering. Sustainable Farming Scheme Outline Proposals: Co-design response

These ideas will help shape the next version of the SFS proposals. We will include them in a further consultation towards the end of this year. We will not make any final decisions on scheme design until the conclusion of this consultation.