NFU Environment Factsheet

August 2012
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This factsheet provides positive facts about farming’s contribution in managing and protecting the countryside. The information is intended as a resource for NFU staff and members. Data is taken from reports and surveys and all sources are referenced. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Land use
Around three-quarters of the land in England and Wales is managed by farmers. This figure illustrates the land use on 1 agricultural holdings in England .
5.4% 26.4%
6.0% 4.3% 5.4% 26.4%

Agri-environment and voluntary schemes
Farmers are passionate about maintaining and improving conditions for farmland wildlife. This is apparent in the large proportion of farmers participating in environment schemes.

Cereals Oilseeds PotatoesCereals other arable crops and Horticultural crops
Oilseeds Potatoes and other arable crops

Horticultural land Uncropped arablecrops

Temporary grassland 5.9%
6.7% 5.9%

Uncropped arable land Temporary grassland

The area of land in Britain managed under agrienvironment schemes has tripled since 2005 to 6.4 million 8 ha; more than 3 times the size of Wales .

Permanent grassland Permanent grassland Sole rights rough grazing
Common rough grazing Sole rights rough grazing


6.7% 6.5% 6.5% 1.5% 2.3%

1.5% 2.3%

CommonOther landgrazing rough on agricultural holdings Other land on agricultural holdings

Since the launch of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) a network of over 70 beacon farms has been established to demonstrate the initiative working in 9 practice .

Protected areas
Since 2003 the proportion of agriculturally managed Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in favourable 2. condition has increased from 45% to 95% Stewardship grants awarded to farmers, such as the Higher Level Scheme (HLS), have contributed more widely than any other mechanism to this success, with an estimated 45% 3 of SSSIs benefiting .

214,916ha of farmland are managed for the environment voluntarily of which 96,776ha are managed in 10 line with the CFE .

In England and Wales there are some 515,000 km of hedgerows and another 90,000 km of stone walls. 41% of hedgerows and 24% of stone walls in England are actively 11 managed under agri-environment schemes .

Countryside access
Access to the countryside is something people of all ages can enjoy. Farmers have for centuries been looking after the countryside; keeping footpaths and bridleways in good condition.

Resource protection
Fertiliser use has changed significantly since the 1980s.

Nitrogen application rates in England and Wales have 12 fallen by over 30% from 1987 to 101kg/ha in 2011 . This helps to reduce nitrous oxide emissions.
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The English adult population participated in an estimated 2.73 billion (65 per adult) visits to the natural environment between March 2011 and February 2012. 4 This is an increase of 10% on the previous year .

Across British farmland phosphate use was 19 kg/ha in 12 2011 – a 52% reduction since records began in 1983 . Potash use on tillage crops has also declined, with fiveyear means of 64 kg/ha in 1983-87 falling to 40 kg/ha in 12 2006-11 .
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There are 190,000km of public rights of way in England; enough to go round the equator 43/4 times. 78% are public 1 footpaths .

92% of farmers give their spreaders a general check at 14 least once a year . 68% of holdings have a nutrient management plan and 14 67% have a manure management plan . 52% of livestock farmers store solid manure on a solid 14 base, helping to prevent effluent runoff .

The landscape value of beef and sheep farming contributes £889 million in tourism revenue to English 5 National Parks each year .

LEAF’s (Linking Environment and Farming) Open Farm Sunday attracted over 150,000 visitors to 335 open farms th 6 on Sunday June 17 2012 .

Over 600 farms offer educational access as part of their Agri-Environment schemes to various groups including 7 schools .

The voice of British farming
NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2TZ Tel: 02476 858500 Fax: 02476 858501

NFU Environment Factsheet

August 2012
Biodiversity and wildlife
Farmers take their role as countryside managers seriously; one of the reasons why 80% of England’s landscape 15 character is now in stable or improving condition .

All farmers benefiting from the Single Farm Payment Scheme (SPS) or those who have entered into a relevant commitment under the Rural Development Programme for st England (RDPE) since 1 January 2007 are required to 21 produce a soil protection review . In addition to this 75% use a soil management plan to address compaction and erosion in more detail and to minimise leaching and runoff 22 of nutrients and pesticides .
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85% of cereal growers incorporate the manure they 16 spread and 62% incorporate their slurry . English loamy soil contains on average 25 tonnes of micro-organisms/ha – including 4 tonnes of earthworms, 10 tonnes of fungi, and 1 tonne of springtails, spiders, 23 beetles and snails .

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Farmers in England are growing wild bird seed mixtures 11 on almost 30,000ha . 90% of holdings have hedges and on 23% of these holdings farmers planted new hedges between 2009 and 16 2010. 35% of holdings have tree lines of over 100m .
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Pesticide usage has been declining since 1990, despite a 24 larger area being treated each year .
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The use of registered pesticides on arable crops halved 25 from 28000 tonnes in 1990 to 14000 tonnes in 2010 . 94% of the sprayed area in England is being treated with machines tested under the National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) and there are over 20,000 registered 26 spray operators .

Otters have returned to all English Counties from near 13 extinction in the 1970s . Plant species richness on British arable and horticultural land increased by 30% between 1998 and 17 2007, including food for birds and butterflies .

Bat populations are considered to be a good indicator of the broad state of wildlife and environmental quality. Since 18 1999 bats populations have increased by 5% each year .

The efforts of farmers in implementing measures developed by the Voluntary Initiative have helped avoid deterioration and reduce pesticide contamination in 27 catchments across the country . Less than 1% of surface water bodies fail to reach good status due to pesticide 28 contamination .

Five of the ten farmland birds on the red-listed Birds of Conservation Concern and two of the four on the amber list saw population increases in the UK between 2010 and 19 2011, despite the unfavourable weather .
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80% farmers use low drift nozzles and 69% have buffer 22 strips to prevent pesticides contaminating water courses .

Water efficiency
Farmers recognise the importance and value of water to the environment.
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79% of livestock farms include clover in grass leys . Species including the turtle dove rely on clover for food. The number of ponds in England has increased by 86% 20 since 1990 .


Agricultural use accounted for around 1% of the total 29 volume of water abstracted in England and Wales . Farmers in parts of England have voluntarily set up Water Abstractor Groups in response to water scarcity. These groups focus on sharing ideas and information as 28 well as water .

Farmers and growers play a critical role in managing, maintaining and protecting the nation’s soils.

44% of all cultivated land is managed with zero or 16 minimum tillage .  81% of cultivated soils were covered with crops or 16 overwinter stubble in the winter of 2009/10 .

In the UK only 67 litres of piped water is required to 5 produce 1kg beef and 49 litres for 1kg lamb , this is in contrast to 16000 litres of water needed to produce 1kg 30 beef as commonly cited .

The voice of British farming
NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2TZ Tel: 02476 858500 Fax: 02476 858501

NFU Environment Factsheet

August 2012
Climate change
Farmers are already taking action to tackle climate change and farming has a key role to play in reducing emissions.
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Biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 35 50% when compared to fossil fuels . In 2010 a new 1Mt wheat bioethanol plant began production in England. This will produce 400 million litres of ethanol and 400,000 tonnes of animal feed. The bioethanol produced will generate carbon savings 36 equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road .

Agriculture is responsible for just 1% of UK carbon 1 dioxide emissions, despite using 75% of land space . Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from UK agriculture fell by 20% and 19% respectively between 1990 and 2010 and total GHG emissions from agriculture fell by 31 20% .

Over 10 billion tonnes of carbon is estimated to be stored in UK soils, equivalent to 1 ½ years of global carbon 32 emissions .

There are 24 on-farm farm-fed Anaerobic digestion plants in the UK with a total capacity to process 200,000 tonnes of feedstock, including manures and slurries, 37 annually .

English agri-environment schemes have been estimated to deliver greenhouse gas savings of 4 million 33 tonnes of CO2 e/year .

Farmers are taking advantage of Solar Photovoltaics as a means of diversification and generating sustainable income. Early indications suggest that arrays on 38 agricultural land boast a total of 46MW .

Air quality
Changes in manure spreading practices and improvements in the design of livestock buildings and manure and slurry stores are contributing to falls in ammonia emissions.
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In 2009 agricultural biomass displaced 839,000 tonnes 39 of Oil for heating and electricity, double that in 2006 .

Agricultural waste
Agriculture plays an important part in UK waste management.
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38% of farmers cover their manure heaps and slurry 16 stores, helping to prevent ammonia volatilisation . Ammonia emissions (excluding natural emissions from wild animals and humans) fell by 22% between 1990 and 34 2009 to 288,000 tonnes .

More than 70% of farms remove over 75% of their non40 packaging plastics off-farm for recycling . 15% of composting sites are on-farm .

Renewable energy
It is the NFU's aspiration that every farmer should have the opportunity to become a net exporter of low-carbon energy services.

5.1 million tonnes of separately collected waste was composted or digested in the UK in 2008/09 and agriculture is the largest end user for all compost and 38 digestate products at 60% .

State of the Countryside 2010 Observatory indicator DE8 Defra 3Natural England Protecting England’s natural treasure SSSI 2011 Natural England monitor of engagement with the natural environment: The national survey on people and the natural environment 2012 5 EBLEX Testing the water; The English beef and sheep production environmental roadmap phase 2 6 LEAF: Crowds flock to Open Farm Sunday 2012 7June 2010 Natural England national option update statistics 8 Uk biodiversity indicators in your pocket 2012 9CFE 2011 10Defra survey of land managed under the CFE 2011/12 11 Environmental stewardship update December 2009 – Natural England 12British survey of fertiliser practise 2011 13 14Defra farm practices survey 2012 – England greenhouse gas mitigation practices 15 State of the Natural Environment Report 2008 16Defra Farm Practices Survey 2010 17Countryside Survey 2007 18Observatory indicator DA5 19 2011 Breeding Bird Survey BTO 20Observatory indicator DF1 Defra 21Defra Soil Protection Review 2010 22AIC agronomist survey 2010 23 National Trust Soil Protection Strategy 24Pesticide Usage Statistics FERA 25Pesticides usage survey arable crops in the UK FERA 2010 26 Voluntary Initiative Annual Report 2009-10 28Environment Agency 2010 29NFU Water survey 2011 30 Water Footprint of Nations Report 31DECC 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Final Figures 32 Carbon management by land and marine managers 2008 – Natural England 33Environmental stewardship and climate mitigation NE 2012 34 Emissions of Ammonia Defra statistics 35Farming Futures 2008 36 37AD infrastructure in the UK WRAP 2011 38 39Observatory indicator DD3 Defra 40Defra farm practices survey 2009 41 The state of the UK organics recycling industry 2008/09
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The voice of British farming
NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2TZ Tel: 02476 858500 Fax: 02476 858501