Government has announced that a new commitment has been made between itself and the UK farming community to ensure British farmers support and protect wildlife and biodiversity.
Under the new commitment, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association will be working with Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to get more farmers into Environmental Stewardship and undertake voluntary work to improve water quality and natural habitats on their land.
Environmental Stewardship is a scheme that provides farmers and land managers in the UK with funding following the delivery of effective environmental management on their land.
As part of the new commitment, farmers will:
- Double the uptake of key agri-environment Entry Level Scheme in-field options, covering 40,000 hectares on top of current levels.
- Increase uncropped land by 20,000 hectares from January 2008 levels. The campaign will also seek to improve the environmental management of at least 60,000 hectares of uncropped land.
- Introduce voluntary measures on other land covering at least 30,000 hectares and up to 50,000 hectares.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has also announced that from January 2010:
- New standards will be introduced for water abstraction for irrigation and to limit spreading of manure and fertilizer where these might enter watercourses.
- Standards relating to soils, the management of hedge banks and land not in production will have been simplified and clarified.
- Farmers will be encouraged to use buffer strips to protect vulnerable watercourses and we will monitor the effectiveness of this approach.
Posted under Environmental Regulations and Legislation and Food and Drink on 27 July 2009