Dartmoor Test & Trials

Funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), this research, managed by Janet Dwyer on behalf of Dartmoor National Park Authority and Dartmoor Commoners Council, proposes to test the practical development of a payment by results (PBR) scheme on common land, to better understand the barriers and opportunities to improve delivery including the necessary governance. 

The project aims to develop: 

  • The details for a new payment scheme for all the commons on Dartmoor, to become part of DEFRA’s ELM approach which is being rolled out as part of the agricultural transition; 
  • A scheme based on ‘paying by results’, whereby payment is not linked to pre-defined management prescriptions, but instead it rewards the results of management (better results = higher payments); 
  • A new / stronger governance structure: giving farmers and commoners / commons associations and owners scope to design their own approaches to deliver the desired outcomes, but with more sustained support / involvement of advisors and partners, to help them to achieve this 
  • Allowing flexible management, but creating clear incentives to work towards a common, agreed goal: being clear about ‘what good looks like’, taking into account the full range of public benefits sought from land management, and understanding how to measure progress towards that goal. 

Taking a participatory action-oriented, mixed methods approach, the research has three phases, i) Listening and Learning from farmers and other stakeholders – via workshops, interviews, document & data analysis; ii) trialling possible scheme models via field surveys & co-design, iii) Refining and reporting. The CCRI team is led by Janet Dwyer, assisted by Theo Lenormand and Gwyn Jones (EFNCP), and the project runs from November 2022 to March 2024. 

CCRI REF: 2022-025