Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Environmental schemes damaging upland farming

THE Tenant Farmers Association has hit out at Natural England’s ‘misguided’ policy of ‘drastically reducing’ uplands stocking densities through Environmental Stewardship Schemes. See the full article in the Farmer's Guardian.

I share the concern that the overgrazing lobby needs to be curtailed. Undergrazing is a reality in many areas already and this is likely to get worse if the 75% reduction in upland stocking levels that is quoted in the article comes to pass. Understandably, the TFA is interested first and foremost in such issues as farm incomes, home produced beef & lamb, skill shortages and food security, but I would add habitat condition, biodiversity and wildfire risk to this list. The habitat on an ungrazed moor is likely to be in poor condition, it will not have a diverse structure and the fuel loads will make it a wildfire waiting to happen.

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