Identifying and supporting High Nature Value (HNV) farming in England and Wales
Identifying, supporting and monitoring HNV farming has been a priority for EU rural development policy since 2005. But as with other countries, the four 2007-13 RDPs for the UK - one each in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - did not have a fully developed approach for making this priority operational. By 2014, this has changed to a greater or lesser extent, but there is still much work to do to ensure that the policy is both meaningful in terms of content and appropriate in terms of scale.
The most recent work has been in the English Northern Upland Chain Local Nature Partnership (LNP) - an umbrella grouping encompassing Northumberland National Park, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Yorkshire Dales National Park, Nidderdale AONB and the Forest of Bowland AONB. Having decided that HNV farming is a priority for the Partnership area, four local studies involving consultations with farmers were commissioned.
EFNCP carried out the North Pennines work, in conjunction with Cumulus Consultants, and undertook the task of synthesising the four reports and developing common messages. The work has now moved on to the implementation phase and EFNCP is supporting the Partnership's work on results-based agri-environment schemes. Further details can be found here.
Previous to this, EFNCP joined up with a range of local partners in three areas of England and Wales to explore further how policies for HNV farming should work. This analysis has led to an overall report with policy recommendations.
The three projects, in the Wye Valley, in Devon and Carmarthenshire deal with the characterisation, identification and monitoring of HNV farmland and farming systems and with the design and implementation of policy measures to address their needs and the delivery of public good ecosystem services on them, but the balance between these varied between the areas.