Bonus for moorland
MAFF launched its moorland regeneration scheme on Wednes-day which offers £25/year for every eligible ewe removed from hill flocks.
With EU assistance more than £3m a year will be provided for the payments in England. Similar schemes are being launched in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Payments will be available to sheep producers farming heather and other shrubby moorland throughout less favoured areas in England except in environmentally sensitive areas.
Applicants must enter 20ha (49.4 acres) of moorland containing at least 25% heather. They must agree to remove a minimum 10 animals from their flocks, draw up and keep to a moorland management plan and protect other environmental features on their land.
The scheme is open for applications until May 31 and, in future years, will be open from Jan 2 to Mar 31. Information packs and application forms are available from MAFF regional service centres.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds welcomed the scheme as a useful step towards resolving a longstanding problem.
• The Scottish Office has ear- marked £6.6m for the first three years of its scheme.