DEFRA / Natural England

Natural England relaxes rules on supplementary feeding to help livestock farmers in AE schemes through the big freeze

Natural England recognises the severe problems faced by livestock farmers as a result of freezing weather conditions and has announced steps today to make it easier for them to feed their animals.

Farmers in agri-environment schemes which normally impose restrictions on supplementary feeding will now be able to give their livestock additional feed to help maintain animal welfare during the cold period. This is a temporary relaxation and takes immediate effect for the duration of the severe cold weather.

Defra confirms Higher Level Stewardship funding and new Environmental Stewardship payment schedule

Published on Defra Website Tuesday 16 November 2010 at 9:58am

The Government has today confirmed the details of spending on Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) until 2014. The announcement means that farmers who have applied to join the HLS scheme this year, and are waiting to learn if they’ve been successful, can be given start dates.

What are the likely implications for farming and conservation in Cumbria of the budget cuts?

Taken from an article by Paul Arkle, Cumbria FWAG in the Cumberland News

Contrary to initial concerns that funding for schemes such as Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) would be reduced as part of the cutbacks to Defra, the government decided to ring-fence the flagship programme.

By 2013/14 the budget for HLS will increase by 83 per cent over current funding. This bodes well for farmers in Cumbria, which has been one of the key areas for HLS targeting within the north-west.

Natural England's official Q & A on HLS

The last few days have seen significant media coverage regarding the current suspension to the HLS scheme and the confused messages emerging from last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Natural England have now finally published their official Q&A which can be accessed here (click on the file) or via their website at:

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/HLS_Q&A_tcm6-23026.pdf

HLS - still open for business - Natural England

NATURAL England has reassured farmers that the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme is still open for business and urged them to apply to the scheme as normal.

However budgetary constraints mean applications will not receive a start date until April 2011 at the earliest.

A spokesman said: “HLS is not suspended – it remains open for business and farmers are encouraged to continue applying.”

What the spending review means for farmers

Taken from the Farmers Guardian

Defra has been criticised for a lack of detail on what its spending settlement will actually mean. Here is what we do know:

Defra’s overall settlement

Defra Draft Structural Reform Plan

The plan aims to help to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the food chain to ensure a secure, environmentally sustainable and healthy supply of food with improved standards of animal welfare. Secondly, to enhance and protect the natural environment by reducing pollution and preventing habitat loss and degradation.

Syndicate content