Plans to reward farmers who make space for nature on their land is a welcome step towards reversing the precipitous decline in British wildlife, according to the Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) in response to today’s announcement of two new land management schemes by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Danielle Dewe, Chief Executive of the CRT, said: “The Countryside Restoration Trust has been advocating for wildlife-friendly farming for almost 30 years, so it is really pleasing to see this now being incorporated into Government policy in the Local Nature Recovery scheme. The CRT has shown that it is possible to achieve a living, working countryside where nature can thrive on profitable, productive farms. Interventions like thriving hedgerows, grass margins and beetle banks have helped the CRT’s Lark Rise Farm in Cambridgeshire see the return of lapwings to its fields, as well as a fourfold increase in grey partridges, both Red List species.”

Dewe concluded: “With the Basic Payment Scheme being phased out completely by 2027, it is important that the Government quickly moves from pilots to fully operational schemes so that our busy and hardworking farmers on small-scale farms have the time they need to prepare for these important changes. It is essential we support small family farms across the country, who represent the true lifeblood of the rural economy and our countryside. It also essential that any nature recovery schemes are bold and ambitious, given the scale of the biodiversity crisis we face.”