[S]outh Lakes MP Tim Farron has tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling on the Department for the Environment to extend the farming stewardship schemes by an initial two years.
Currently Higher Level and Entry Level stewardship schemes are used to give money to farmers to help them look after the environment.
But those farmers whose schemes run out before the UK leaves the EU have not been offered any replacement until at least 2020.
During a debate in Parliament earlier this month, Tim challenged the Farming Minister to continue the schemes until a new, better and bespoke scheme for the uplands can be introduced.
However, the minister refused to give any commitment that he would continue the schemes for those farmers whose schemes run out in the New Year.
Tim said: “The Government’s refusal to confirm an extension of high-level stewardship and entry-level stewardship agreements will concern both farmers and environmentalists alike.
“Whether it be not committing to extend stewardship schemes or giving no guarantees about the future of direct payments, the Government seem to be happy to keep our hard-working farmers in the dark.
“It’s vitally important, both for our local environment and for the future of family farming in Cumbria, that the Government agree to extend these schemes once we’ve left the European Union.”
Early Day Motion –
That this House notes that Higher Level and Entry Level Stewardship schemes due to expire at the end of January 2019 are not able to be renewed, whereas those whose schemes finish after the UK scheduled date to leave the EU will continue to receive funding, recognises that this gap in funding leaves farmers financially vulnerable during this interim period; further recognises that important environmental gains could be lost during this period and therefore calls on the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs to extend such stewardship schemes by an initial two years up to 2021 or until the post-Brexit replacement provisions are in place.