27 September 1996

RASE members mostly green

MOST farmers accept they have a responsibility to conserve wildlife on their land, according to a survey by the Royal Agricultural Society of England and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The survey, of RASE members, also found that 74% believe incentive schemes are needed to encourage positive countryside management of arable areas. And almost half agreed that farmers should have to meet environmental standards in return for taxpayers support.

Mike Ducker, RASE agricultural director said the survey confirmed that farmers and landowners took their environmental responsibilities seriously.

He added that farmers were noticing a decline in common farmland birds, but they were already planning to tackle that.

Over the past five years many landowners concentrated on landscape features, including hedges, woodlands and ponds. But future plans were focused towards crop and field management, including cuts in fertilisers and pesticides.