BFWN has delivered three workshops so far in 2022 as part of a second DEFRA Test & Trial within the new Environmental Land Management scheme top tier, Landscape Recovery. These meetings have covered payments and incentives, how to create a landscape management plan for the Brecks, and long term agreements. Farmers opinions on these aspects of future schemes are directly fed into interim reports to DEFRA. Working with Dr James Gilroy from the University of East Anglia, the project also looks at the possible development of a simple monitoring protocol for farmers which could allow large-scale long-term monitoring of cultivated margins and act as an early warning for management actions. Johanna Jones and Tim Pankhurst from Plantlife are contributing their wide experience and resources to the project. Hence at the last meeting we were looking for arable plants and beetles on a cultivated margin. This has been in place for many years so soil nutrients are low, growing a wide range of arable plants which provide a food source for many valuable invertebrates and birds.
BFWN is very grateful for the support of many along the way; Rob Hughes and Alida Tysterman from Brown & Co, Nick Sibbett from The Landscape Partnership, Dr Rob Hawkes (who delivered the first BFWN Test and Trial with the University of East Anglia [UEA] and now works at the RSPB) Teresa Dent CBE (CEO of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust), Becks Mundy (Natural England Senior Adviser on Shared Nitrogen Action Plans), Professor Brian Reid (UEA soil scientist), Claire Robinson (NFU Senior Countryside Adviser) and Emily Swan, arable plant lead from Natural England. The strength of the network is really enhanced by these connections and the knowledge and evidence base they bring, along with many other collaborators not mentioned here. After a break over the summer the Test continues with meetings in October and December towards a final report in January.