LUC is working with Defra on a new contract to inform national agri-environment scheme policy and implementation.

We will be conducting specific research and providing expertise on Beauty, Heritage and Engagement (BHE) with the natural environment. This is one of the six objectives of the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme for England.  ELM is the cornerstone of Defra’s new agricultural policy and is being designed to replace current EU-funded schemes.

Our task is to develop indicators to monitor and evaluate ELM’s impacts on Beauty, Heritage and Engagement with the natural environment. The team is also developing methods for assigning monetary values to the BHE benefits delivered by ELM. This will support future Value for Money assessments of ELM.

Using in-field testing of indicators and innovative monitoring techniques (including Earth Observation), we will establish a robust monitoring programme for Defra to implement when the scheme is launched.

We are working in partnership with Rural Focus Ltd, the Countryside Community Research Institute (University of Gloucestershire), Environment Systems Ltd, the Royal Agricultural University and Rayment Consulting.

The project builds upon LUC’s extensive track-record in agri-environment and landscape monitoring, including our award-winning study ‘New Agricultural Landscapes: 44 Years of Change’.