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Hundreds of farmers have their say on Government scheme with ‘thriving plants and wildlife’ topping results

Fryup Dale by Ebor ImagesFryup Dale by Ebor Images

21 July 2020

Farmers and land managers from the North York Moors National Park have had their say on a proposed new land management scheme that aims to deliver positive outcomes for both the environment and people’s livelihoods.

Between January and February 2020 farmers and land managers within the National park were asked to complete a questionnaire on Defra’s proposed Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs), which is due to be rolled out in 2024.

Under the new initiative, farmers will be paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife. This will replace the schemes currently available under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The questionnaire was put together to help the National Park Authority identify which ‘public goods’, as set out in Defra’s 25-year Environment Plan, farmers and land managers want to deliver. This includes: clean air, clean water, reduction in environmental hazards and pollution, thriving plants and wildlife, mitigation & adaptation to climate change, and enhanced landscape.

Following analysis of 365 questionnaires, farmers and land managers showed high levels of willingness to deliver all six of the public goods with thriving plants and wildlife coming out on top. The others were only narrowly behind and based on a scale of 1 -10 (where 1 is 'very unwilling' and 10 is 'very willing' to deliver that public good) all ranked on average above 7.

In order to further assess the willingness of farmers and land managers to deliver these benefits, respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with eleven statements, such as: ‘I believe food production and the delivery of public goods can go hand in hand on the same farm’.

Farmer feeding sheep and lambs

This revealed that the highest levels of agreement were towards the belief that the new scheme could go hand in hand with food production on the same farm. They were also strong levels of agreement towards joining the new ELMs and towards choosing their own methods for delivering environmental improvements.

Rebecca Thompson, Future Farming Policy Officer for the National Park said: “The results of this questionnaire will prove invaluable to allow us to present a collective view to Defra and we are truly thankful to all the farmers and land managers who participated and continue to do so. I would also like to thank Dr Simon Williams, Managing Director of Service Insights Ltd, for his help with the analysis and creation of the questionnaire.

“We have since carried out a further Test and Trials study of eight focus groups from each of the main farm types active in the National Park and we are now developing a tool to model the economic impact of the proposed scheme.

“We believe that farmers and land managers within the National Park are well placed to deliver the range of environmental benefits that Defra has identified and we are keen to ensure that this works to the benefit of both the environment and those whose livelihoods depend on the sustainable management of the land.”

ENDS

Media contact

Charlie Fox, Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority

press@northyorkmoors.org.uk

01439 772700

The North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres), the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 8 million visitors a year.

The National Park has two visitor centres, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

Further information about the North York Moors National Park and other press releases are available here: northyorkmoors.org.uk