New schemes launched to support nature and landscape recovery
I am delighted that the Government is launching two new schemes to restore and enhance natural landscapes across England, giving farmers, foresters and land managers financial support to play their part in protecting our natural environment.
We are incredibly fortunate that in our constituency, Penistone and Stocksbridge, we have some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country right on our doorstep. These landscapes also underpin the rural economy that is so important to local communities and having left the EU and its Common Agricultural Policy, we now have the opportunity to use a new rural subsidies system to support high-quality farming and landscape restoration.
The two new schemes that are being launched are complementary - one based on smaller-scale interventions that individual landowners can take to improve biodiversity and nature recovery on their properties, and the other targeted at much larger-scale landscape transformation.
The Local Nature Recovery scheme – this scheme will pay farmers to take actions which make space for nature in the farmed landscape and countryside. This could include interventions such as creating wildlife habitat, planting trees, or restoring peat and wetland areas.
The Landscape Recovery scheme – this scheme will fund more radical land-use changes and habitat restoration such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains, or creating woodland and wetlands.
Working together, these two schemes will enable farmers and landowners to contribute to our wider nature conservation goals:
- reversing the decline of native species such as the water vole
- restoring our peat and wetland areas
- reducing run-off water pollution
- improving the quality of rivers, lakes and streams
- restoring 10,000 hectares of wildlife habitat
- expanding sustainable soil management
- creating new woodlands and hedgerows
- saving up to 50 kilotonnes of carbon emissions per year
The specifics of work that will receive funding through these schemes will be designed in partnership with farmers and land managers so ensuring any interventions are tailored to the specific needs of the land in question. Some of these interventions will be particularly relevant to our constituency, where we have large areas of moorland offering an incredibly rich habitat supporting a vast range of flora and fauna. Our peatlands also providing nationally, even internationally, important nature based carbon storage. I’m determined to ensure that these landscapes are improved and sustained and to that end I’m engaging with ministerial colleagues and the Peak District National Park.
Work to reduce flooding and improve drainage are also highly relevant to our communities. The Government announced funding for flood prevention work last year, and I’ve met with Yorkshire Water and other local partners to discuss their work to reduce flooding. This is a problem that needs a broad range of stakeholder to play their part, and the additional funding through these new schemes is a good opportunity for landowners and land managers to undertake some of this work.
These new schemes will help us to achieve our aim of profitable farming businesses producing nutritious food, adhering to the highest standards whilst underpinning a growing rural economy, where nature is able to recover, and people have better access to it.
I will be encouraging local farmers and landowners to consider how they could work with DEFRA to deliver some of these projects locally, and to use the financial support that is available to enable them to do so in a way that will offer much wider public and environmental benefits.