CPRE: Are farmers doing right by wildlife?

Bumblebee. Credit: A Butler, GWCT
Bumblebee. Credit: A Butler, GWCT

MEMBERS of the farming community believe they are best placed to decide what measures they should take to ensure a balanced habitat for farmland wildlife.

This month the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England said it was time to rethink the voluntary scheme which sees farmers set aside land to ensure wild birds, insects and small mammals thrive. The CPRE refer to the latest Defra figures on the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) which shows the scheme is falling below expectations.

Alex Butler is the CFE coordinator for Leicestershire and Northants and said farmers have an inherent interest and concern for wildlife, some of which is financial. He added: “If someone wants to do something they are likely to do it better than someone who doesn’t. They choose the measures they take and know where it’s best suited, and in my opinion it’s much more likely to achieve the objectives.”

Ian Woodhurst, CPRE’s farming campaigner said some farmers doing the right things are let down by others unwilling to join them. He calls for a review of the CFE, and in particular how it works alongside reforms of the Common Argicultural Policy,

He added: “Given these disappointing findings it’s important the Government conducts a thorough review. We believe it’s important farmers are clear about what’s expected of them and they all need to contribute towards making farming practices more environmentally sustainable.”