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From the plains of Spain to the farmland of Essex

rspb

The RSPB is so excited about the birdlife in Essex that a dedicated member of staff is now on hand to help farmers and landowners make their land as wildlife friendly as possible.

Frank, originally from Spain, is the RSPBs new Farmland Bird Advisor for Essex and has always had a keen interest in birds here in the UK.  Frank said: I am incredibly pleased to call Essex my new home. I can see how proud people in Essex are of their farming traditions and I think its vital that this work continues and supports the precious wildlife here in the process.

I hope that by offering free advice and help with entering Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) or Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements, we can help to reverse the worrying declines seen in some of our much loved farmland birds.

Frank, based at the Wat Tyler Country Park went on to say: Farming income can be much more diverse, and having wildlife benefits on our farms will have significant financial gains aswell as environmental ones.

How can the RSPB help?

  • After visiting your farm, Frank will plan the best package of options to meet the required point in your agri-environment schemes.
  • He can complete applications for agri-environment schemes free of charge, taking your input into account throughout the process.
  • Once your options are in place, Frank will provide ongoing support and advice making sure that you are confident with the outcome.

Higher Level Scheme and Entry Level Scheme is a voluntary, government scheme that provides funding to farmers. It allows farmers to work in a way that supports biodiversity, enhances the landscape, and improves the quality of water, air and soil. Frank can help tailor these options to suite the individual needs of the farmers in and around  Essex.

Bryher Beef Farm in St Osyth is a great example of how the RSPB is successfully partnering with local farmers.

Mr. Bond at Bryher Beef farm said: Finding out that the RSPB could help us put a really good agri-environment scheme together to submit to Natural England was a real turning point.  Their advisors have been extremely helpful and supportive and were happy to work with us to produce an exciting and workable proposal that incorporated most of the options for arable land and included better ways to manage our smaller, more awkward fields.

Eastern England is one of the most important regions in the UK for farming and food production; however it is also an area which supports nationally important farmland bird populations. These farmland birds are in real trouble, both nationally as well as throughout the region.

  • Since September 2007, the RSPB has worked with farmers to successfully submit well over 50,000 hectares of land directly into both tiers of the governments Environmental Stewardship Schemes regionally, bringing with it high value agreements for farmland birds and other farm wildlife.
  • In the last financial year RSPB farmland Bird advisers were able to submit applications directly on behalf of farmers on over 20,000 hectares of land, delivering optimal benefits for farmland birds and other wildlife.  The regional RSPB farmland bird team has now secured over 8 million pounds of Environmental Stewardship money, helping secure a future for farmland birds in Eastern England.
  • The RSPB continue to work with large agri-businesses and agricultural suppliers in the regional and this work was reflected in an event for farmers run jointly between RSPB, Frontier Agriculture and Kings Speciality Crops, which over 78 farmers attended, and heard from farmers who had received direct advice and assistance from the RSPB, demonstrating the value of RSPB farmland bird advice.

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