Factfile: Farming and the environment

hare in grass_275_183

Or that over 70% of English farmland is managed under agri-environment schemes? What about our hedgerows - up by 50,000km since 1990 to 550,000kms?

Our farmers work extremely hard to protect and enhance millions of hectares of British countryside, trimming hedges, maintaining footpaths, protecting watercourses and managing wildlife habitats.

Here are a few more examples of how farming benefits for the environment. You might also want to have a look at the case studies, here.

  • England has about 190,000km (118,000 miles) of public rights of way which criss-cross farmland - 78% of those trails are footpaths. There are more than 33,000km of rights of way in Wales.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from British farming have been cut by 20% since 1990.
  • goldfinch_200_249The overall bird population across England is relatively stable. Of the specialist farmland birds a number are showing population increases Goldfinch, Stock Dove and Whitethroat. The numbers of Woodpigeon and Jackdaw have more than doubled.
  • Farmers have over 6,781 km of fenced watercourses (equivalent to five times the distance from Lands’ End to John O’Groats).
  • Under the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, England currently has 450, 000 hectares of land voluntarily put aside for wildlife
  • There are over 478,000 ponds in Great Britain, with 70,600 created in the ten years up to 2007.
  • Hedgerows have increased by 50,000km to 550,000kms in England since 1990.
  • Over 40,000 hectares of farmland in England are managed under an unpaid, soil related environmental measure.
  • Hedgerow in May with wildflowers_275_366There has been a long-term declining trend in fertiliser nutrient applications with nitrogen applications in England and Wales down by 30% and phosphate applications down by 57% between 1990 and 2012.
  • Farmers plan their nutrients to match crop needs with 73% of agricultural land area covered by nutrient management plans.
  • Farmers hold two-thirds of abstraction licences (13,000 out of a total 21,000 licences) but use only 0.6% of abstracted water. Irrigated fruit and vegetable production accounts for 4% of cropped land yet accounts for 20% of UK crop value.