Whitehall unveils next phase of habitat restoration

13th January 2022


The next stage of plans to reward farmers and landowners for working to benefit the environment, support sustainable food production alongside vital nature recovery and the drive towards net-zero has been unveiled by the government.

The next stage of plans to reward farmers and landowners for working to benefit the environment, support sustainable food production alongside vital nature recovery and the drive towards net-zero has been unveiled by the government.

Two environmental land management schemes aim to play a key role in halting the decline in species by 2030, bringing up to 60% of England's agricultural soil under sustainable management by 2030, and restoring up to 300,000 hectares of wildlife habitat by 2042.

The reforms are seen as among the biggest changes to England’s farming and land management in 50 years with more than 3,000 farmers already testing the new schemes.

Under the Local Nature Recovery scheme, farmers will be paid to make space for nature in the farmed landscape and countryside including creating wildlife habitats, planting trees or restoring peat and wetland areas.

Meanwhile the Landscape Recovery scheme will support new nature reserves, restoring floodplains, or creating woodland and wetlands.

Combined with the government’s Sustainable Farming Incentive, the schemes aim to provide farmers and land owners with a broad range of voluntary options.

Applications will shortly open for the first wave of Landscape Recovery projects. Up to 15 schemes will be selected, focusing on recovering England’s threatened native species and restoring rivers and streams.

The pilot projects are expected to create 10,000 hectares of restored wildlife habitats, generate carbon savings of up to 50 kilotonnes a year while improving the status of around half of the most threatened species in England, including the Eurasian curlew, sand lizard and water vole.

“We are building these schemes together, and we are already working with over 3,000 farmers across the sector to test and trial our future approach,” said environment secretary George Eustace. “Farmers will be able to choose which scheme or combination of schemes works best for their business, and we will support them to do so.”

An early version of the Local Nature Recovery scheme will be trialled in 2023 with a full roll-out from 2024.

Image credit | iStock

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