The Environment Secretary is due to say how much money will be paid to farmers to restore sites that store carbon and reduce flooding, manage habitats and boost numbers of stone-curlews, cirl buntings and other species that have seriously declined.
Hundreds of farmers throughout Britain have had applications for agri-environment schemes put on hold awaiting a decision in Brussels.
Farm ministers sanctioned funding last week and Defra could double the money now available. The government will not provide that much, but has promised some additional cash. The RSPB calculates that a total of £300 million is needed annually to allow farmers’ applications to go ahead.
Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, Head of Countryside Conservation at the RSPB, said: “Adequate money for these exceptional agri-environment schemes is crucial to the future of our countryside. These schemes take green farming further than we have seen for more than fifty years and could contribute enormously to tackling climate change and helping farmland wildlife.
“The decision last week to allow funds to be switched from subsidies to environmental schemes was hugely welcome and is a major step forward. At least £300 million is needed to enable the best projects to go ahead and it is essential that this is what the government provides.”
CLA President, David Fursdon, said: “We support the move towards rewarding land managers for delivering environmental services and thus it is regrettable that the government has decided to reduce the rate of match funding of these environment schemes compared to the level operating for the last six years, especially as these services are becoming increasingly important in light of climate change and growing public interest in the countryside.”
Agri-environment schemes have existed for 20 years but were considerably improved after the Curry Commission report of 2002. Now, there are basic and higher level schemes and it is the latter for which funding has been delayed.
Stone-curlews and cirl buntings are examples of birds whose numbers have risen considerably because of conservation work on farmland funded by the higher level scheme.
The initiative has also paid for improvements to Sites of Special Scientific Interest on farmland. The RSPB and CLA fear that if the shortfall remains, national and international targets for reversing wildlife declines and improving habitats will not be met.
Dr Armstrong Brown said: “This scheme has made a huge difference in a short time and has the potential to achieve so much more. Farmers are queuing up to start work and it would be a tragedy for our countryside if they were turned away before getting to the front of the queue.”
Cath Harris | alfa
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy