Getting a 'win-win' situation by combining ELS with VI

UK - Farmers reluctant or only grudgingly willing to adopt the Voluntary Initiative to protect the environment could be encouraged to change their attitude by the government's Entry Level Scheme.

That's the view of a leading environmental researcher who sees plenty of overlaps between the VI and ELS.

Effectively the ELS offers financial incentives of 30/ha (12/acre) to help farmers satisfy the VI objectives of minimising the environmental impact of pesticides, explains Alastair Leake, head of the Game Conservancy Trust's Allerton Project in Leics.

"There are several 'win/win' options, and with widespread ELS uptake likely the benefits to the countryside could be significant."

There are 11 options (codes EF1-11) available in the first category - for arable land, notes Dr Leake.

They include leaving over-wintered stubbles, sowing wild bird seed, pollen and nectar mixtures and introducing skylark plots.

"They all increase food resources for farmland birds such as skylarks and grey partridges, the latter being an emblem species of the VI.

"The wild bird seed mixes and stubbles provide seeds and are especially important during winter.

Pollen and nectar mixes and skylark plots help during the breeding season by providing access points for the adults into crops which are normally too thick, and protein-rich insect food for the growing chicks."

Source: FWi
calendar icon 13 January 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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