Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS)

The South East Rivers Trust is part of the national pilot for the new agricultural subsidies programme – Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS).

We are exploring how private sources of funding, such as water companies, can complement future land management schemes by bringing together farmers and funders to discuss managing land in the most sustainable way.

This is one of several pilots funded by Defra – the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

  • Project started


  • Farmers engaged


Protecting water supply

SERT is leading a test and trial for ELMS in the Beult and Little Stour catchments in Kent. Our work aims to answer questions in the following areas.

  • Where and how can we manage our farmed and natural landscape in a way that benefits people and nature, by protecting water supply and other benefits?
  • How can we monitor and measure what our natural assets are contributing to water supply and other benefits?
  • How can we combine public funding through ELMS with funding from private sources, such as water companies?

We will work with farmers, water companies and other stakeholders and feed back findings to Defra.

This work builds on engagement we have started in PROWATER and the great demonstration farms already working with us in those catchments.

A farm walk showcasing a wetland restoration project pre-implementation © South East Rivers Trust

Call to landowners

Do you own or farm land in our area?  Don’t worry if you are slightly outside, we’d still love to hear from you.

Over the course of the next few months, we will be running workshops to gain farmers’ views on questions such as:

  • What natural assets are on your land that contribute to water supply, and what else would you be willing to do and where?
  • What do you think fair payment rates and a payment system that works for you would look like?
  • How do you want information on spatial priorities and advice to be shared?
  • What could you monitor on your land to show that you are achieving results?

We hope one day, through ELMS funding, to make the catchment full of land managed in a way that helps nature and rivers thrive.

If you think that sounds interesting, please check back here for updates on workshops or get in touch with us ( 

How the Beult could look with good ELMS. Image courtesy Cathy Barcham

Thanks to our supporters