Cumulus to play key role in testing blended finance within ELM Landscape Recovery

It is evident that there is an urgent need to address climate change, biodiversity and wider environmental challenges as part of the ongoing agricultural transition.  However, significant outcomes can be delivered by working in collaboration at a landscape scale, and it is imperative that both policy makers and advisors work with farmers and landowners to identify and understand the opportunities, and realise the potential benefits achievable through changes in land use and management.

In 2021, Defra launched a third round of Environmental Land Management (ELM) Tests and Trials, focussing on how the Landscape Recovery element of the scheme might work. The Landscape Recovery scheme will support more radical land use change and habitat restoration such as creating woodland and wetlands and restoring peatland.

A Successful Bid

Cumulus Consultants is delighted to have helped develop a successful bid for the Landscape Recovery round, working with the North York Moors National Park Authority and consultancy partners, Fera Science Ltd and Viridian Logic. The new Test and Trial will test opportunities for blending public and private finance through the generation of carbon credits and initiatives such as Biodiversity Net Gain, water quality improvements and natural flood management to achieve landscape recovery in the North York Moors National Park.  

Whilst it is recognised that farmers and land managers within the North York Moors National Park are well placed to deliver the full range of public goods that society demands, the farms are typically small and managed independently. This project seeks to inform those individual farmers, landowners and land managers of both the public and private funding opportunities that exist and to enable them to recognise what potential outcomes could be achieved, so that they can confidently collaborate and make changes to their land management practices.

A Collaborative Approach

The fifteen-month project will involve a number of key tasks. GIS mapping and modelling will identify strategic locations for habitat creation and restoration, opportunities for connecting new habitats to existing habitat networks, and opportunities for water quality improvements and natural flood management. We will then identify where biodiversity net gain, carbon credits, water quality improvements and natural flood management interventions will yield the optimal balance between cost and benefit. The economic modelling tool Cumulus developed for the North York Moors National Park Authority during an earlier Test and Trial will then be updated and extended to incorporate both public and private payments for different interventions, to show the impact of these opportunities at both the National Park and individual farm levels. Throughout the project, we will be working with farmers and landowners across the National Park, and a wide range of other stakeholders.

Managing Director of Cumulus Consultants, Paul Silcock, said;

“Collaborating with farmers, land managers and other stakeholders, through a series of workshops, will enable us to identify the potential impacts on farm incomes of public and private environmental funding, and help us to understand farmers’ responses to such opportunities. As the Landscape Recovery scheme develops we think the learning from each stage of the project will be invaluable to Defra, as well as NYMNPA, and the area’s farmers and land managers”.

If you are interested to find out more about the project and/or discuss blended finance or landscape recovery more generally, please do get in touch.