7 August 2001
Rare bird reserve ‘a waste of money’

By FWi staff

FARMERS who helped protect a rare bird have branded a statutory nature reserve which has been imposed on them a waste of money.

Government conservation advisor English Nature is protecting 32,000 acres of Breckland on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The land supports 172 pairs of rare stone curlews, more than 40% of the national population.

Numbers have doubled in the past 10 years without statutory protection, thanks to a partnership between farmers and the RSPB.

English Nature has defended designating the land as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) because of its duty to protect rare species under European law.

Farmers will be paid 1 an acre for crop management and leaving bare earth for the birds to breed.

But some said the designation a is waste of tax payers money while others fear it could reduce property value and prevent them growing winter crops.

In an editorial The Telegraph says such bureaucratic nightmares could dissuade farmers from doing their bit for the environment.

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