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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.

Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Downloads

Summary

In 2018, the total area of land in higher-level or targeted agri-environment agreements in the UK was 3.2 million hectares: 1.6 million hectares in England; 0.5 million hectares in Wales; 1.1 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 2018

A bar graph showing the area of land (in million hectares) covered by higher level or targeted agri-environment schemes, between 1992 and 1998 in the UK, split by country within the UK.  In the UK, the total area of land between 1992 and 2018  is increasing. 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.

Notes:

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

England: Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA), Countryside Stewardship (CS), Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) which includes Entry Level Stewardship (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, Glastir Advanced and Decoupled Advanced (from 2016).

N Ireland: ESA, Countryside Management, and Environmental Farming Scheme (from 2017).

  1. Higher level schemes have stricter criteria for qualification than other agri-environment schemes.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, 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


1992–2018


2013–2018

Increased (2018)

Note: Long- and short-term assessments are based on a 3% rule of thumb. Where possible, the base years for these assessments use a 3-year average. See Assessing Indicators.

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Downloads

Download the Fiche and Datasheet from the JNCC Resource Hub

Last updated: September 2019

Latest data available: 2018

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Categories:

UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019

Published: .

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