Pilot schemes to pay farmers to save birds

25 June 1997

Pilot schemes to pay farmers to save birds

Arable farmers in East Anglia and the West Midlands will be offered up to
£494 a ha (£200 an acre) next year to use fewer pesticides and adopt
environmentally friendly methods. The Ministry of Agriculture will announce two
pilot schemes today costing £500,000. The move is a bid to save the skylark
and other birds which have declined dramatically because of modern farming
methods. Farmers will only get the pay-out if they agree to protect habitats and
encourage the birds, and the insects they feed, on for at least five years.

The ministry is to increase spending under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme
by £5m to £21m this year. Another £5m increase is planned for

The subsidies include £20 a ha (£8 an acre) for cutting back on
weedkillers; £129 a ha (£52 an acre) to restrict weedkillers and stop
using fertilisers on land earmarked for wildlife; £198 a ha (£80 an
acre) to establish “beetle banks” in fields to encourage natural predators to
attack pests and reduce the need for pesticides; £479 a ha (£194 an
acre) to practise cereal crop rotation, leaving fields fallow in the summer and
£494 a ha (£200 an acre) to leave land as uncultivated havens for
wildlife. Countryside minister Elliot Morley, called for reforms of the Common
Agricultural Policy to switch subsidies to countryside protection.

  • The Daily Telegraph 23/06/97 page 8

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