A consultant team comprising LUC, the Countryside and Community Research Institute (University of Gloucestershire) and Environment Systems Ltd, have been contracted by Natural England and Defra to resurvey Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) Agreements.
This three-year monitoring project will assess how HLS and CS agreements contribute toward environmental outcomes across multiple scheme objectives. It will survey at a range of scales, using different methods to assess how each agreement is delivering biodiversity, landscape, historic environment and resource protection outcomes. It will also examine how scheme options contribute to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change on agreement land.
The project will explore how the commitment and circumstance of the agreement holder have influenced the outcome of the agreements. It will consider factors such as farm type, ownership and social influences.
The project is also exploring the role of scheme guidance in the shaping and delivery of these agri-environment schemes and finding out where agreement holders go for advice and what impact this has on outcomes.