This report describes a Results Based Agri-Environment Payment Scheme (RBAPS) developed as a pilot in England from 2016 to 2018. The scheme was delivered by Natural England in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and co-financed by the European Commission. It operated in Wensleydale (on species rich meadows and grassland for breeding waders) and Norfolk/Suffolk (delivering plots of winter bird food and flower-rich mixes for pollinators). Farmers had complete flexibility on how to manage their land, but the annual scheme payment was linked to their level of success in delivering the biodiversity outcome. The project aimed to test whether this outcomes-focussed approach motivated farmers to deliver better quality habitats for wildlife compared with the conventional approach in schemes such as Countryside Stewardship, where payments are fixed and the way they manage the land is prescribed in an agreement. It also looked at how accurately farmers could self-assess their own results, tested the cost-effectiveness of a RBAPS and explored participant and stakeholder attitudes.
The project forms part of the evidence base informing the development of future agri-environment schemes.