NOVEMBER 28, 2008: One third of England’s total land area could be included in a new approach to green farming, which will target money at England’s most  treasured landscapes and important habitats.

More than 100 of England’s most cherished landscapes covering 4.8 million hectares will be targeted thanks to a conservation effort delivered through green farming. Nearly £3 billion has been earmarked for the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme between 2007 and 2013, which will deliver the initiative.Under new environmental farm payments – announced by Natural England on Wednesday, November 26 – farmers and land managers will be encouraged to co-ordinate their conservation work through the HLS, instead of working on a more piecemeal basis.Sir Martin Doughty, Chair of Natural England, explained that if land managers undertook similar activities within the same area, it would help speed up the recovery of landscapes and wildlife. Activities could include wetland restoration, creation of skylark plots or maintaining traditional orchards.‘We need to reverse the decline in vulnerable species, making them more resilient to climate change, increase the protection for some of our ancient monuments and ensure that farming enterprises can be appropriately supported in their valued work,’ he said.‘This targeting plan thinks big and we look forward to working with land managers in these areas on this initiative.’Although Natural England will focus significant resource on target areas, it will also have a role outside the areas where environmental stewardship agreements have a role.Natural England’s Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) scheme supports a basic level of good environmental practice across the majority of England’s farming land. Currently, 63 per cent of England’s agricultural land is covered by environmental stewardship schemes.For more information, contact a Natural England adviser or call 0300 060 1115 or visit  Back to news

Image(s) provided by: