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HLS making agri-environmental schemes harder to sign up for

by 5m Editor
8 September 2006, at 10:46am

UK - Farmers and land agents claim their desires to "go green" by embracing agri-environmental schemes are being thwarted by raised hurdles and suspected budget cuts.

In Scotland, even the winner of a prestigious environmental award has been barred from the country's Rural Stewardship Scheme. And south of the border, specialists say joining the Higher Level Stewardship scheme has recently become much harder.

"Not long ago we were told that the HLS entry criteria were on the floor and it was a case of 'roll up, roll up'," said David Bolton of Norfolk land agent Cheffins.

"As a result, a great deal of effort went into making applications. But now I'm being told by our consultants in touch with Rural Development Service advisers that the criteria have shot up.

"The more this sort of thing happens the more it brings these schemes into disrepute."

Having worked closely with farmers to develop comprehensive, high quality HLS applications, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group is also finding it increasingly hard to gain acceptance.

Source: FWi

5m Editor