12 July 1999
Green farm subsidies save birds

GREEN subsidies paid to British farmers have been responsible for saving two of Britains rarest birds, according to breeding figures from the government.

Cirl buntings have grown by a factor of four to reach 450 breeding pairs, while stone curlews have doubled to 200 pairs.

Elliot Morley, countryside minister, called the recoveries a triumph for the ministry of agricultures countryside stewardship scheme.

It will spend more than £26m in 12 months helping farmers to be more environmentally sensitive.

Farmers can receive annual payments of £196 an acre to create suitable nesting sites in their arable fields and £114 an acre to encourage the birds on grasslands.

So far, 15 farmers support 29 special breeding plots and six more plan to set up another 11 breeding havens.

  • The Daily Telegraph 12/07/99 page 9