At Link's recent AGM, new Chief Executive Richard Benwell highlighted the growing influence of Link using the excellent A Future Sustainable Farming and Land Use for England as an example. Although published over two years ago it remains a “go to” document for policy makers in Defra and demonstrates the added value and influence gained when the sector works together in partnership as Link.
As one of the signatory organisations this is good to hear and at Butterfly Conservation we will continue to press for a better future for both farming and wildlife. By combining scientific evidence with extensive practical experience of working with farmers and land owners, we believe we can make a valuable contribution to the development of new wildlife-friendly farming grants. Our recently published evidence review and supporting summary leaflet uses this knowledge to highlight the ingredients needed for successful schemes.
Future approaches to farming and land use will be critical in determining the outlook for wildlife and the need for urgent action is clear. The recent publication of the State of Nature and UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019 present a gloomy picture of the current state of our wildlife. Butterflies and moths have been particularly hard hit, with decreases in average abundance of butterflies (16%) and moths (25%) and, in common with other species, a major factor driving these declines has been changes to agriculture and land management.
However, there is hope with new opportunities to overhaul agricultural payments and agri-environment schemes. With the growing recognition of the crisis facing wildlife, there is a chance to use the £3bn currently spent on agricultural support in a much more effective way. From valuable experience we know what works, but to date the successful elements have not been delivered on a large enough scale to drive overall species and habitat recovery.
At Butterfly Conservation, we firmly believe it is essential to work alongside policy makers, partners, farmers, land managers and others to help create the policies and wildlife-friendly grants which will benefit both farming and wildlife. As well as highlighting the critical declines in butterflies and moths we also want to bring forward solutions building, on what we know works. We look forward to contributing to the debate and helping to create a world where wildlife is flourishing right across the farmed landscapes of England.
Chris Corrigan, Policy Coordinator, Butterfly Conservation
The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.,
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