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Local Nature Recovery in 2022

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Countryside Stewardship, environmental land management schemes

Rolling green hills of the Yorkshire Dales

Local Nature Recovery is the improved and more ambitious successor to the Countryside Stewardship scheme in England.

It will pay for locally-targeted actions to make space for nature in the farmed landscape and the wider countryside, alongside food production. These could be done, for example, on parts of the farm that are not suitable for production, less productive or difficult to work.

Farmers will be able to have agreements that include options from Local Nature Recovery on top of standards in the Sustainable Farming Incentive. SFI will pay you for actions that you can take in the course of your farming – actions which will result in farmers collectively making a real difference to air quality, water quality, climate emissions and biodiversity; LNR is about making space for nature alongside food production.

If you are interested in finding out how the Sustainable Farming Incentive will pay farmers and growers, read our post on how we designed the Sustainable Farming Incentive standards that are being released this year. On January 6 we provided an overview of the Local Nature Recovery scheme.

In this post, we’ll provide further detail on what Local Nature Recovery will pay for and explain how we will be working with you over the course of the year to develop the detailed scheme design. Later this year, we will provide more information on other aspects of the scheme, including how we'll target actions to areas where they can make the most impact, and how we'll support farmers to work together across a local area.

What options will Local Nature Recovery pay for? 

Local Nature Recovery will pay for options in a similar way to Countryside Stewardship. By the time that the scheme is rolled out (by the end of 2024), there will be a range of options available, which we are looking into paying for as set out below:

Managing feeding, shelter and breeding areas for wildlife on arable farms
  • Provision of feeding, nesting and shelter/hibernation habitat for particular wildlife species attracted to arable habitats, including nesting plots for birds
  • Creation and management of buffer strips to protect or link priority habitats
Managing, restoring and creating grassland habitats such as species-rich grassland on farms and in the wider countryside
  • Creation and management of species-rich grassland, wet grassland, floodplain meadows, and features such as scrapes and gutters on grasslands for particular wildlife species
Managing, restoring and creating wetland habitats such as ponds, lakes, reedbeds and fens
  • Creation, restoration and maintenance of various wetland types such as ponds, lakes, reedbeds, fens and ditches
  • Specific actions to assist management of wetlands, such as managing scrapes, removing trees or scrub, appropriate wetland grazing or cutting, providing buffer strips or raising water levels
Managing, restoring and creating lowland heathland
  • Creation, restoration, or management of lowland heath
  • Specific actions to assist management of lowland heath, such as bracken control, removing trees or scrub, and managing livestock
Managing, restoring and creating coastal habitats such as sand dunes, salt marsh and shingle
  • Creation, restoration and maintenance of various coastal, intertidal and saline habitats; these would include sand dunes, salt marsh, shingle, and cliffs
Managing and restoring areas of upland and lowland peat, and moorland on farms and in the wider countryside
  • Restoration and management of upland peat and moorland habitats
  • Options to manage lowland peat soils more sustainably
  • Management and restoration of lowland peat habitats, such as raised bogs
  • Specific actions to assist management where appropriate, such as raising water levels in peat grasslands or peat arable land, and rewetting habitats, tree and scrub removal, bracken control and managing grazing
Targeted measures to support the recovery and reintroduction of particular wildlife species, such as creating and managing nesting and feeding habitat, and to tackle non-native invasive species
  • Particular species support, including creating and managing habitat
  • Control and/or management of predators, invasive non-native species, and specific species such as deer, grey squirrel, rhododendron and bracken
Managing and creating trees and woodlands, including agroforestry, traditional orchards and tree planting on areas of farms – noting that the England Woodland Creation Offer will be the main scheme for woodland creation until 2025
  • Creation and/or restoration, improvement and management of tree habitats, such as woodland, wood pasture and traditional orchards
  • Encouraging and/or managing public access in woodlands
  • Other options for trees on farm, such as ancient and veteran trees, and silvo-pastoral systems
  • Creation and management of successional areas or scrub
  • Specific actions to assist management where appropriate, such as rhododendron/deer/grey squirrel management
Nature-based solutions for water – such as creating and managing in-field vegetation, buffer strips and swales to reduce and filter runoff and contribute to natural flood management
  • Construction and management of features to enhance infiltration, slow and attenuate surface water flows, and slowing the flow of small watercourses to improve water quality and contribute to natural flood management. Features could include leaky woody structures in watercourses, silt traps and settlement ponds and new vegetation/trees planted to intercept and filter run-off.
  • Blocking or removing drainage to promote more natural drainage – contributing to cleaner water, slowed flows and habitat improvement
Restoring rivers, flood plains, streams and riparian habitats
  • Restoring natural processes of rivers, streams and floodplains which have been physically modified, i.e. wetlands removed, channels moved, by ceasing maintenance such as dredging or cutting vegetation, bank protection and embankments
  • Creating, managing and restoring riparian habitats
  • Control of Invasive Non-Native Species

We will also continue to pay for heritage, access and engagement through our existing schemes, and consider how to maintain investment in these areas as part of future schemes.

Some of the options will be based on what we already pay for through Countryside Stewardship. We’ll also be introducing new options to cover a wider range of activities and outcomes.

The ongoing payments for these actions will all be complemented by appropriate capital item offers to support investment in creating or restoring habitats and other features.

Co-design in 2022

We need to ensure that the Local Nature Recovery scheme options (and the Sustainable Farming Incentive standards) we roll out work in practice and achieve the intended outcomes. This is why our approach to designing the options is centred around co-design.

We want to offer options that are practical, clear, flexible and value for money. To achieve that, we are co-designing the scheme with farmers, land managers and other experts.

We have formed practitioner discussion groups on themes which are based on the LNR options presented above and the SFI standards. The groups are looking at SFI and LNR together, so we can make sure the schemes work well together and people can have a good range of choices to suit their particular setting. We won’t be working on all the themes at once; we'll set these groups up sequentially to work through them a few at a time.

If you would like to be involved, please sign up to take part in co-design. We’ll send email updates on the events taking place for your areas of interest.

Payment Rates

We'll also be developing payment rates for each of the options that are fair and attractive for farmers and land managers, and affordable and offer value for money for the public.

We will set payments in line with the payment principles for our new environmental land management schemes that we published last year, and will fairly and effectively pay farmers, foresters, and other land managers for achieving environmental and climate outcomes.

The payment rates will build on the updated payment rates for Countryside Stewardship that we announced earlier this year.

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  1. Comment by Cathy posted on

    It is good to see more information, thank you. LNR was announced earlier as similar to CS but focussing on local prioritisation and collaboration, but there is no mention of that here. Will those features still be important and will they be incentivised in some way?

    • Replies to Cathy>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Thanks for your comment and question, Cathy. As mentioned in the blog post, later this year we will provide more information on other aspects of the scheme, including how we'll target actions to areas where they can make the most impact, and how we'll support farmers to work together across a local area. Please watch this space for more information.

  2. Comment by m.j.uttley posted on

    I am 20% woodland rest is arable and every field has an hedge. Some of the world's leading cereal growers are at war again and you want farmers not to grow food. Please think about people, our people our nation. We are animal lovers but we must keep a sense of proportion.

    • Replies to m.j.uttley>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hello there,

      Thanks for visiting the blog.

      Food production is the primary purpose of farming and always will be.

      We’re not asking anyone to choose between food and environment: our view is that food production, farm businesses and environment can - and must - go hand in hand.

      For many farmers, improving the environment will support food production. For example, good soil health is in turn good for water quality, and improves climate resilience, biodiversity, and food production.

      In the case where land use change is needed, improvements in productivity in other areas will offset to some extent any reduction in food production.

      Balancing and integrating food production with our environmental land management will support an efficient and sustainable land use without offshoring harms associated with lower production standards.

      We hope this helps to clarify.

      Best wishes,
      The Team


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