17 May 2000
Wildlife profits farmers, says Bellamy

ENVIRONMENTALIST David Bellamy says farmers can improve wildlife on their land and make a decent profit at the same time.

Dr Bellamy asked the Yorkshire farming company UAP to take out 3% of a cropped area on a farm and established new grass and wild flower strips.

Government grants more than covered the cost of the project, at Manor Farm, reports the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

Within six months the number butterflies had increased 14-fold, and numbers of skylarks and voles showed dramatic rises.

Dr Bellamy said this could be a model for increasing biodiversity across the country.

He said few farmers were doing this because they take little pride in set aside, “which is full of weeds theyve been fighting”.

Cuts in the use of certain chemicals by a third brought a saving of 2500 and helped the farmer make a profit, said Dr Bellamy.