A proposal has been announced for sustaining and enhancing Exmoor’s farmed landscapes and communities following the UK’s exit f

from the EU.

The proposed ‘funding and branding’ model shows a clean break with the traditional EU models and refocuses Exmoor position as a brand of the future to maximise revenues.

The proposal outlines a simpler, more integrated and local policy, incentivising all the public benefits provided by the countryside.

'Exmoor's Ambition' It has been developed by Exmoor National Park Authority, backed by the Exmoor Hill Farming Network, conservationists and local public bodies.

Sharing the goals laid out in the government’s recent 25-Year Environment Plan to pass on the world class landscape to the next generation in a better state than received, this proposal provides an opportunity to forge more effective ways of protecting Exmoor’s finest landscapes, while revitalising its communities and economies.

The proposal outlines a simpler, more integrated and local policy, incentivising all the public benefits provided by the countryside. This would be delivered through a scheme delivered locally that;

• Harnesses the concept of ‘Natural Capital’ (what nature provides) to draw value out of Exmoor’s unique features

• Uses trust and cooperation to replace regulation and form-filling

• Encourages new thinking, especially from the next generation

• And is co-designed and delivered by farmers and land managers

Exmoor’s Ambition – which is described in a costed plan - is a simple structure of two integrated measures that would replace the current complex and flawed EU farm and environmental schemes.

The first measure – ‘Good Farming’ - would be available to all farmers and reward them for managing their land in ways that are good for nature and people.

The second measure - ‘Enhanced Benefits’ - would target specific objectives, such as enhancing heather moorland for wildlife, improving coastal access for walkers, planting and managing woodland, reducing flooding and encouraging entrepreneurial businesses.

A funded programme would improve Exmoor produce itself, with a new product strategy and improved supply chain strategy in place for the area. The Exmoor Ambition paper outlines the intention to create a newly defined geographical descriptor for Exmoor, by way of achieving a stronger brand identity and premium for Exmoor products and provenance. All Exmoor Hill Farmers will be offered a farm sign that signals their role in farming the landscape.

NFU south west regional director Mel Squires said: “The system proposed puts forward a way to provide a fair reward for delivering a range of public goods and services, with competitive food production being at the centre of these."

Robin Milton, chair of the National Park Authority said: “This is a farmer-based approach designed to enhance the local landscape and generate optimum return for Exmoor. It offers a better way of using public resources more efficiently, providing the government with a testbed to develop land management support that delivers what the nation expects."

Exmoor National Park Authority is currently seeking to run a pilot (funded by Defra), that aims to run nationally and regionally, with relative policy priority to upland land management.