12 June 1998
Farmers’ chance to sign up for green farming

By PA staff

FARMERS have been given a further chance to sign up to the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme, it was announced today (Friday).

Countryside Minister Elliot Morley encouraged more farmers to join the 2,382 agreement holders in six areas.

Payments worth just under £6 million a year are currently being received by agreement holders in Dartmoor, the Blackdown Hills, the Cotswold Hills, the Essex Coast, the Upper Thames Tributaries and the Shropshire Hills.

Payments for dry-stone walling in the Cotswold Hills and for hedge management in the Upper Thames Tributaries have been increased following last years payment review. All other payment rates are held at the same level.

The application period is open now and will close at the end of August.

Mr Morley said: “I am pleased to announce that MAFF is again inviting applications to join the ESA scheme in the six most recently designated areas.

“We hope that farmers and other land managers will continue to join the ESA scheme which now includes nearly 500,000 hectares of land under environmentally sensitive management in England.”

“We are maintaining payment levels at the level set in 1996, with the exception of two increases, for walling and hedging work in two of these six ESAs.

“All the individual payment levels have been carefully reviewed in the light of changes to economic circumstances and the cost to farmers of following ESA requirements.”