A report published by Natural England in October this year reported that 34% of England’s farmed area has been engaged with catchment sensitive farming (CSF).
CSF aims to negate the pollution caused by agriculture, particularly regarding water quality. Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship Schemes (CSS) which take measures to control pollution or restore pollutant losses requires support from a CSF officer (CSFO), to endorse the proposed work.
This recent report has published that 87% of implemented measures for CSF have been effective. These measures taken under such agri-environment schemes are proven to show 4 to 8 times higher reductions in agricultural pollutant losses where they are also implementing CSF measures.
Measures advised may include local and tailored farm advice, with pollutant risk assessments and monitoring, along with capital grants to support relevant farm infrastructural improvements. It has been reported that the benefits from CSF go beyond water quality to flood risk, natural pest control, biodiversity and cost-savings.
However, these benefits do not arise overnight. It is reported to take three years before mitigation measures reflect detectable improvements. Also, uptake is very dependent upon how the integrity of the measure is to practical farming techniques and the level of upfront costs. Therefore, the CSF report advertises longer, more effective CSFO and farmer, one to one relationships; to be sustainable and ensure practicality which will consequently, accurately monitor and evaluate the benefits of taking such measures.
If you think you may be interested in improving water quality through a Mid-Tier CSS; although applications will not open until the new year, we would advise organising a CSFO visit to prepare for your application in advance. Please get in touch with someone from our Agricultural Team on 01423 860322 for support with organising this and your application.