NFU president warns DEFRA risks ‘breach of contract’ on ELS

NFU PRESIDENT Tim Bennett has highlighted the risk of a clear breach of contract over DEFRA’s role in implementing the Entry Level Stewardship Scheme.


Speaking as he opened the Cereals Event on Wed (Jun 15), Mr Bennett pointed out that many farmers still could not apply for the ELS because they couldn’t get an application.


Mr Bennett said he wanted to outline a Plan B approach to the scheme which he said would ensure farmers were not disadvantaged by the delays surrounding its introduction.


He said: “Tempting though it is to leave it to those who have created the mess to clear it up, the NFU is not going to abdicate its leadership role.”


The union’s Plan B is:

  • Monthly start dates so that all those who are ready can enter as soon as possible.

  • A payment guarantee so that all those entered by Nov 1 can be paid by Feb 1 2006.

  • Applications to be accepted without RDS approved maps.

  • Local surgeries that allow real time electronic submissions of applications during late June and July.

Mr Bennett added that if DEFRA cannot deliver an effective application process in the months ahead, modulation rates must be adjusted.