EPIC project announced to help shape the future of farming

ELM Partnership in the Irwell Catchment (EPIC), has recently been launched by local environmental charity Groundwork Greater Manchester as one of several DEFRA ‘ELM Tests and Trial’ projects across the country.

Environmental Land Management (ELM) is the cornerstone of the government’s new agricultural policy, set to roll out from 2024. Instead of focusing on payment for food production, ELM will provide the framework for the government to pay farmers and land managers to deliver public goods - such as biodiversity, cleaner water, cleaner air and carbon reduction and carbon storage on their land - through sustainable land management.


Over the next two years Groundwork Greater Manchester will engage with local farmers and other stakeholders across the Irwell catchment to better understand their needs and challenges. Together, they will seek to understand whether an ‘end to end’ process for delivery of environmental priorities can be developed. The project will explore areas such as: collaboration between farmers and other stakeholders, landscape and farm scale planning and how to translate plans to reality with appropriate advice and guidance.  Groundwork will then test out the elements of this process with a number of local farmers through the production of 6-10 Land Management Plans.


Paula Pearson, Irwell Catchment Partnership Host Officer at Groundwork Greater Manchester commented,


“We are extremely pleased to start work on this important project. Over recent years Groundwork have successfully engaged people interested in farming and the environment through projects such as our Facilitated Farmers’ Group and hosting of the Irwell Catchment Partnership; we recognise the importance of effective engagement with stakeholders.


As we listen to stakeholders over the next couple of years, and explore ways of working to be tested, we hope to establish a framework for collaboration across Greater Manchester and beyond that will connect local farmers and other land managers with the resources needed to thrive under ELM, supporting resilient farm businesses and delivering maximum benefit to the environment and for people.”


A brief online launch event will take place on Thursday 15th July from 9.30 am. The event includes a guest speaker from DEFRA and will provide an update on development of ELM to date, and an overview of the project.  Questions can be submitted prior to the event. To register for the event please contact epic@groundwork.org.uk


More information on how to engage with the project can be found on Groundwork’s website: www.groundwork.org.uk/projects/epic


An explainer video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/TJfuJS7JrkM



For more information on this press release please contact Stephanie Wyatt, Marketing Manager on 0161 220 1000 // 07814459886 or stephanie.wyatt@groundwork.org.uk