B1. Agricultural and forest area under environmental management schemes

B1a. Area of land in agri-environment schemes

 

Type: Response Indicator

 

Indicator Description

Agri-environment schemes require land managers, including farmers, to implement environmentally beneficial management and to demonstrate good environmental practice on their land. The higher-level or targeted schemes promote environmental management aimed to: conserve wildlife; maintain and enhance landscape quality and character; protect the historic environment and natural resources; and promote public access and understanding of the countryside. The entry-level type schemes aim to encourage large numbers of land managers, , to implement simple and effective environmental management on their land.

Summary

 

In 2016, the total area of land in higher-level or targeted agri-environment agreements in the UK was just under 2.4 million hectares: 1.4 million hectares in England; 0.2 million hectares in Wales; 0.7 million hectares in Scotland; and 0.1 million hectares in Northern Ireland. 

Fluctuations in areas of land under agri-environment agreements over time can occur as a result of the introduction of new schemes and the ending of previous scheme agreements.  Existing agreements will continue until they expire.

 

Figure B1ai.  Area of land covered by higher-level or targeted agri-environment schemes, 1992 to 2016.

Figure B1ai. Area of land covered by higher-level or targeted agri-environment schemes, 1992 to 2016.

Notes:

  1. The following schemes have been included as higher-level or targeted agri-environment schemes:

    England: Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA), Countryside Stewardship, Higher Level Stewardship (which includes ELS linked to HLS) and from 2016 new Countryside Stewardship (Higher Tier and Mid Tier).  England Mid Tier and Higher Tier schemes of the new Countryside Stewardship both contribute to B1ai. Scotland: ESA, Countryside Premium, and Rural Stewardship, Rural Priorities, and from 2016 Agri-Environment Climate Scheme.Wales: ESA, Tir Cymen, Tir Gofal, and Glastir Advanced.N Ireland: ESA, Countryside Management and NI Countryside Management.
  2. Higher level schemes have stricter criteria for qualification than other agri-environment schemes.

Source: Department for Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland, Defra, Natural England, Scottish Government, Welsh Government.

 

Assessment of change in area of land covered by agri-environment schemes

 

Long term

Short term

Latest year

Higher-level or targeted schemes

indicator improving
1992–2016

2010 indicator declining2011–2016

Decreased (2016)

 

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Last updated: August 2017

Latest data available: 2016