Farmers are building on their traditional role as custodians of
the countryside according to a new report being published today
by the Environment Agency.
The Environment: What’s in it for you? is a spotlight on
business performance and the way industries – including agriculture – affect
The NFU is encouraged by figures in the report which show:
• There are 21,305 Entry Level Stewardship schemes in England
and 2,243 in Wales, with farmers working to bring benefits for
the whole environment.
• More than half of those ELS contain measures protecting
the soil and watercourses.
• Water polluting incidents by farmers fell by 10 per cent
• Under the Voluntary Initiative pesticides are being used
The report says: “Many farmers already farm in a way that
protects the environment. We’d like to encourage more businesses
in the farming sector to rise to the environmental challenges and
build the environment into their business.
“By doing this they can gain economic benefits as well as
protect the environment now and for the future.”
Although the report highlights six farms who were fined for environmental
offences it is generally very positive about the role of farmers.
However the NFU accepts there is still more work to do.
NFU President Peter Kendall said: “This is a positive look
at the environmental performance of farming businesses. Farmers
have worked, and continue to work, hard to adapt their businesses
to make them as environmentally sustainable as possible and we
are pleased the Agency is able to acknowledge the improvements
“The Agency says its will support farmers in the future
by promoting voluntary measures and we believe this is absolutely
essential. Schemes such as the Voluntary Initiative and Entry Level
Stewardship scheme will continue to play a vital role in improved
environmental performance for the entire industry.”
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