Farmers to act for wildlife

Friday 9th February 2018

Cows on farmland in Warwickshire

New farming group established in Warwickshire to deliver nature conservation

The fourth round of Natural England’s popular Facilitation Fund has been one of the most successful yet, with 37 new groups of farmers from Cornwall to Northumberland signed up to agreements after a competitive application round, which closed in November 2017. Here in Warwickshire a new group has been established in the Arden area which stretches down the western side of the county from the northern border near Tamworth all the way down to the southern border with Oxfordshire. Initially 16 farmers have come together with more interested in joining over the next 3 years of the scheme.

The Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund rewards groups of farmers for coming together to work out the best ways to improve the natural environment across their land, providing habitats for wildlife on a landscape scale to better aid conservation of important species. Their combined efforts help to create bigger, better, more joined up areas in the farmed landscape, which create vital safe havens for wildlife to exist.

There are now 98 groups working across England with the common goal of better delivering environmental improvements on their land, and the land of their neighbours.

A number of high quality applications were received in this latest funding round, which meant the funding pot was increased by £600,000 to ensure that groups with important work to deliver could access the funding to do so.

All 37 groups have now received their agreements and will be able to receive funding for working together and sharing knowledge to improve the landscape. The addition of these groups to the scheme means that now over 450,000 hectares of holdings in England are delivering landscape-scale measures for wildlife, water management and the historic environment.

Farming Minister George Eustice said: “We are delighted to welcome 37 new groups, with over 700 members, to the highly successful Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund scheme. This fund is contributing to an important step change in nature conservation by encouraging and supporting people who bring farmers, foresters and other land managers together to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale. It is particularly encouraging to see how many high quality applications we received, which we hope to replicate across the Countryside Stewardship scheme due to simpler wildlife offers being introduced this year.”

Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said:

“We are delighted to have secured funding from the Facilitation Fund to deliver the Arden Farm Wildlife Network in Warwickshire. This will enable us to create bigger, better, more joined up areas for the benefit of wildlife and people at a landscape scale. Over the next 3 years we will be working in partnership with Zoe Bell, a specialist agricultural adviser to provide support to farmers. We were thrilled that 16 landowners signed up to the group at the application stage, and are confident that more landowners will come on board once we’re up and running. This funding will enable Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to extend its reach in supporting more landowners to integrate nature conservation into main stream farming. By sharing best practice with some of the excellent work that is already taking place, we are confident we can support farmers to make improvements that will benefit wildlife and their business.” 

 

Tagged with: Living Landscapes