Defra Test and Trials for Viticulture – Kent Downs AONB in partnership with Vinescapes

 In Research

– Environmental Land Management (ELM): Viticulture Test and Trial

The Kent Downs AONB unit is helping Defra design the new Environmental Land Management Scheme. The Kent Downs AONB 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.

In recognition of the increasing area of vineyards in South East England, this project will identify how ELM Land Management Plans can be developed to reflect the environmental needs and opportunities arising from the wine-growing sector in the Kent Downs

  • What is best environmental practice for vineyards and how can this be incentivised?
  • Are there existing schemes that can be used as the basis for an ELM intervention?

Vinescapes are partnering with the Kent Downs to provide a collaborative and comprehensive science led study to identify vineyard interventions that could enhance environmental sustainability, public access and provide value for money through potential ELM investments.

Locations: Anywhere within the Kent Downs AONB, Surrey Hills AONB or the South Downs National Park.  We would also like to hear from others that are within the setting of these places (within a few miles of the border)

How can farmers and landowners get involved?

This is an excellent opportunity for farmers and landowners to influence the shape of the reports and recommendations that we submit to Defra. If they become involved in the scheme, we will pay a rate of £200 per day.

What is involved?

The Kent Downs AONB, in partnership with Vinescapes will be holding up to three meetings for each of the Tests and Trials (these are online at the moment) that we would like participants to attend.  There will also be 1 to 1 meetings to talk about specific issues at a farm level.  The draft reports will be sent to participants to get their feedback and opinions.  Most importantly, the project requires ideas about what ELM interventions should look like, what rates of compensation would make them attractive to farmers and how they should be administered.

Who should I contact if I want to be involved?

Please see the Kent Downs website for further information. If you are interested in becoming involved in any of these Tests and Trials please contact Mike Phillips at or call on 01227 652126.

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