In an article from our national magazine, Ellie Brodie tells us about the huge potential benefit of sustainable farming, working with nature and for natural recovery.
What if UK farmland was a thriving home for wildlife, whilst also supporting the needs of a growing population? Picture wild-flowering upland hay meadows and lowland verges buzzing with pollinators. Imagine hedgerows alive with birdsong and the scurrying of mammals. Consider ponds and ditches providing a home to amphibians and dragonflies. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!
The truth, however, is quite different. Farmland in the UK is often a collection of low-diversity areas, intensified for high yield and lower production costs. Given the scale of the farmed environment – around three-quarters of the UK – you can imagine the impact this has on our nation’s wildlife.
Farming at Scale
Intensification of practices, like the use of fertilisers, pesticides and antibiotics in livestock, has allowed us to produce food at scale. But at the cost and exclusion of much else. This model of farming has been driven by agricultural policy for decades. But with our exit from the EU (and the Common Agricultural Policy), there is a chance to change this. As our own agricultural policies develop, there is a move to devolve the rules across our four UK countries. The Westminster Government has committed to refocusing the agricultural spend away from area-based payments and towards tackling environmental issues. In a time of widespread climate change, loss of wildlife and water pollution, this has never been more necessary.
Wildlife Trusts across the UK are working to help farmland wildlife, practically and by influencing policy and legislation. But you can help too! Support your local Wildlife Trust, support nature-friendly farming when you shop and buy organic where you can.
You can find out more about The Wildlife Trust’s work for farmland wildlife here. You can read the full story in the Summer Issue of Wild Tees Magazine. Become a member and you will receive your issue of Wild Tees Magazine and much more. Hit that ‘Join’ button at the top of the page!