Save the birds
HERE on our family farm and woodland on the broad arable acres of Lincolnshire, there are currently 18 UK Red List (at risk) bird species, of which at least 15 are almost certainly breeding—due in no small part to successive government-sponsored stewardship schemes. Under the current higher-level scheme, about a fifth of this farm is in conservation options (the rest being farmed very commercially). Floristically rich field margins are boosting insect populations—the main driver for an increase in bird numbers—and we’re clearly ‘making a difference’.
However, the current scheme comes to an end in 2019 and we’re told by local Natural England staff that there is no scheme to follow. We can’t continue this work unaided, especially at a time of low commodity prices. Our situation will, no doubt, be replicated all over the country, with disastrous consequences for wildlife unless Michael Gove honours the environmental pledges already given, by guaranteeing the future of these schemes as a matter of urgency. Fiona Battle, by email