Farming in the AONB
The Cotswolds Conservation Board supports farmers in the AONB and has committed itself to a set of policies on rural land management which can be found in the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan 2013-18.
The plan identifies key issues in conservation terms such as the importance of good woodland management to maintain the essential character of the Cotswold landscape, the need to retain flower-rich grassland sites despite the downturn in sheep and cattle farming and the need to work towards reversing the decline in the numbers of people who manage land and possess rural skills.
One of the board’s key policies in relation to farming is that viable sustainable farming that meets environmental standards remains one of the principal land uses in the AONB and contributes to maintaining the quality of the landscape.
There are agreed priority areas in the AONB where farmers are encouraged to enter into Higher Level Stewardship Agreements(HLS), which encourage appropriate land management. However the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is currently the subject of much discussion and there are real concerns over the delivery of agri-environment schemes by the next CAP. It is vital for farmers and the environment that these schemes remain adequately funded.
For further details on CAP reform and the discussions that are taking place go to www.gov.uk/cap-reform.