Defra launches farmland conservation scheme

A new scheme enabling English farmers to be paid for environmental work on their farms is to be launched in the spring.

The Environmental Stewardship Scheme, which is funded by the European Union (EU) and the government, will enable farmers to earn up to £30 per hectare for carrying out work such as maintaining hedgerows, leaving conservation strips around fields and creating beetle banks.

The new scheme aims to address several important countryside issues, such as the decline in species, such as farmland birds, protection of the landscape character and historic environment and reduction of diffuse pollution, caused by nitrate pollution and nutrient leaching.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley, said: "This is excellent news for farmers, the environment and the general public. It is certain to have a hugely beneficial effect on improving habitats for bird and wildlife species, increasing their numbers and repairing populations damaged by intensive farming activities. It will also make a major and visible impact on rural landscapes; restoring wetlands, heather moorland and replacing lost hedgerows. In turn, farmers will get the credit they deserve for their key role in protecting and enhancing the farmed environment, creating a countryside that we can all enjoy."

The Environmental Stewardship Scheme has been welcomed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Birds (RSPB).

Application packs, which will contain full details of the scheme, will be available immediately after the scheme's launch.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 January 2015
Govt Urged To 'Do More' For Dairy Farmers
Dairy farmers need more protection from the government following a fall in milk prices, a committee of MPs said.
15 April 2003
Removal scheme set to ease pressure on livestock farmers
The government is set to introduce a carcass removal scheme following the implementation of EU-wide legislation banning the burial of dead animals on agricultural land. In move that could cripple the farming industry, farmers will no longer be able to bury or burn dead animals on their land from 1 May.
10 June 2014
Farmers To Be Given More Flexibility On How To Implement EU Rules
New regulations that gives farmers flexibility over how they implement EU rules have been announced by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. Under new EU regulations, known as greening, farmers must ensure 5 per cent of their land is set aside as an Ecological Focus Area (EFA), instead of beingused for farming.
17 November 2010
Defra Confirms Higher Funding And New Payment Schedule
The Government has confirmed the details of spending on Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) until 2014. The announcement means that farmers who have applied to join the HLS scheme this year, and are waiting to learn if they’ve been successful, can be given start dates. Further changes to the scheme will focus its role on safeguarding the environment.
19 December 2008
New Funding To Help Hill Farmers Protect Historic Uplands
A new payment scheme that will reward hill farmers for protecting and enhancing the landscapes and environment of England's iconic uplands was announced by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn today.
25 July 2003
Animal recovery scheme for farmers goes ahead
Animal Health Minister Ben Bradshaw today announced that a UK national scheme to recover dead animals from farmland is set to go ahead. The voluntary scheme, which has support from key livestock organisations and the devolved authorities, will be jointly financed by subscriptions from farmers and government.
11 May 2012
Environment Agency Removes Drought Status
The wettest April on record and continuing rainfall in May have significantly increased river and reservoir levels, reducing pressure on the environment and public water supplies in some parts of England, according to the Environment Agency. These indicators have led the Environment Agency to remove the drought status for certain areas.
01 October 2007
Further Cull Around Latest FMD Site
Animals at four farms adjacent to the latest confirmed case of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Surrey are to be culled. The disease has now been confirmed at an eighth site in Surrey following further clinical examination and results of preliminary laboratory tests.
24 February 2009
Trawlermen Consultation Launched
The Government today launched a consultation on its new scheme to compensate trawlermen who lost their livelihoods following the 1970s 'Cod Wars'. The consultation runs until 22 May. The Government intends to open the new scheme to applications in the summer.
12 October 2011
CAP Reform Proposals Revealed In Brussels
The European Commission (EC) has today proposed what it describes as a new partnership between Europe and its farmers - and a reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period after 2013.
14 August 2003
10-year celebration for Lake District environment scheme
The wild open fells, rugged mountain peaks, and sheltered valleys of the Lake District were in the spotlight today, as representatives of the Cumbrian farming community, government, and key rural organisations gathered to celebrate ten years of the Lake District Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scheme.
20 July 2012
Sex Offenders Lie Detector Scheme 'To Be Rolled Out'
Following a successful pilot scheme mandatory polygraph testing for sex offenders is set to be rolled out across England and Wales, ministers say. The scheme found offenders who were tested were more honest and gave better information, which meant they were managed more effectively.