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England's Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes

We know that farming must play a key role in helping achieve climate and biodiversity targets, but it remains to be seen whether or not government schemes will move fast enough to support farmers in transitioning to more ambitious environmental management in time to make meaningful differences that will achieve these targets. As it stands, the schemes announced are lacking in detail, and without detail, commitment is nothing more than aspiration.

These schemes should represent the gold standard in rewarding nature-friendly farming given the Government’s commitment to halting biodiversity loss by 2030. But these schemes won’t begin until 2024, and so far, this recent announcement of policy direction is just that – an announcement with very little meat on its bones. We need greater clarity, swifter action and higher ambition if we’re to make any measurable impact in recovering nature. Already many land managers and farmers are delivering at the highest level for nature and climate, yet Government risks leaving them in limbo until these new schemes are in place.

The government has been running similar environmental stewardship schemes voluntarily for farmers wanting to do targeted nature recovery for 20 or 30 years, yet we still have seen huge declines in wildlife. We need these schemes to be bolder – not just delivering more of the same with minor improvements. In the face of a nature and climate crises, we need action instead of warm words.

The Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes are pivotal in making nature recovery possible, but to truly reform land use so it is positively impactful, for both wildlife and farmers, the government needs to move quicker than they are.