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The Kent Downs AONB unit is helping Defra design the new Environmental Land Management Scheme. We are running three Tests and Trials covering Viticulture, Accessibility, and Natural Flood Management and are inviting farmers and landowners to participate and help co-design them. The evidence and recommendations from these Tests and Trials will be submitted to Defra in 2021 and will help shape the way payments are made to farmers and landowners from 2024 onwards.

This exciting work will contribute to some bold recommendations that will be made to Defra at the end of the project. This is an opportunity to make a real difference to how people access the countryside and greenspaces for the next generation.

The Accessibility project will continue to work with farmers and other land managers to identify opportunities for Environmental Land Management scheme to increase public access, health and wellbeing where it is most needed.

• How should landowners be compensated for providing additional access on their land?
• How can we protect the most sensitive areas from too much access?
• How can we ensure that under-represented groups can access greenspaces.

What have we done so far?

At the heart of the Tests and trials is the need to co-develop the reports and recommendations that are produced with farmers, land managers, landowners and access experts. So far, we have done the following:

• 5 workshops have been held with farmers, landowners and land managers to gather views and opinions.
• 4 workshops have been held with access professionals and inclusivity groups.
• 19 case studies have been created, based on in depth interviews with farmers, estates, inclusivity groups and other landowners.
• A report on the legal and insurance liabilities incurred by those providing permissive access has been created.
• A literature and evidence review has been created examining the barriers to access faced by different groups.

Who should I contact if I want to know more or be involved?

The interim project reports can be downloaded from this page. Also, if you are interested in becoming involved in any of these Tests and Trials please contact Mike Phillips at mike@whitehorseecology.co.uk or call on 01227 652126.