JANUARY SALE Subscribe for just £5 today CLICK HERE

Countryside life

PUBLISHED: 10:25 18 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:34 20 February 2013

Countryside life

Countryside life

Farming has shaped the Kentish landscape we know today and it is our farmers who are best placed to help promote conservation

Protecting Kents wildlife

Farming has shaped the Kentish landscape we know today and it is our farmers who are best placed to help promote conservation

Kents countryside is largely man-made, or to be more precise, farmer-made. Greater forces than agriculture may have shaped formations such as the North Downs and the Weald, but it is tilling, sowing and active land-management in all its forms that has clothed these landscapes and given us an environment to enjoy.

Farmings legacy to Kent is of fine produce and a beautiful backdrop to rural life. But what of the future? Farming may have modernised, and some crops ceased to be viable, but the environment created by farmland is as important as ever, and this is the motivation behind the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, an initiative which I hope will reassure those who care about the countryside.

The Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) is designed to build on the environmental benefits of compulsory set-aside (where land is left uncultivated for wildlife to flourish) with a voluntary scheme that demonstrates the environmental benefits which agricultural businesses are ideally placed to nurture.

Farmers are in the best position to encourage our diverse and precious wildlife

Farmers are in the best position to encourage our diverse and precious wildlife, and facilitate access to the countryside, while at the same time ensuring that rural Kent provides not just aesthetic benefits, but local jobs, local food and other valuable products.

CFE in Kent brings together the countys representatives from Britains leading rural organisations, under the chairmanship of Doug Wanstall, who farms in Aldington near Ashford. This Local Liaison Group has already met and set plans in motion to unite Kents farmers behind CFE for the benefit of the environment.

There is already a tremendous amount of work being undertaken by farmers to conserve and increase natural habitats, but CFE aims to set best-practice as the example for all to follow to raise the benchmark, if you like. One way of achieving this will be to establish beacon farms, which exemplify the harmonious co-existence of farming and conservation.

The fact that the CFE is voluntary is not shorthand for it wont happen, because if the CFE does not deliver, then compulsory measures will follow. Most farmers do all they can to promote conservation while running a viable business, and any compulsory measures would involve costly red tape, which we all end up paying for in the end.

The acceptance of CFE as a means of delivering environmental benefits shows a welcome degree of faith in farmers and landowners to deliver the management of land which is out-of-production in ways that will promote farmland birds and wildlife habitats, and protect soil and water.

CFE has provided every farmer and land manager with a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate to Government and the general public that environmental management can be achieved without the need for costly and burdensome regulation.

It has put farmers and land managers, the people who know best how to get the balance right between productive farming and sound environmental management, in the driving seat.

CFE encourages farmers to go a step beyond their existing commitment to wildlife, so this is very much about enhancing the environment, rather than just maintaining the status quo.

There is a real buzz of enthusiasm among all the partners to ensure CFE makes a difference. If it also serves to remind us of the work which farmers and landowners do to make rural Kent a wonderful place to live and visit.

More from People

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A lawyer from Canterbury has launched a new Sunday afternoon tea party for senior citizens in the city who live alone

Read more
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Kent Life spends a festive morning with Christmas Bake Off star Jane Beedle in her Faversham home

Read more

Playing Fairy Goodfeather in Mother Goose at The Marlowe in Canterbury - her first-ever pantomime role - meet Whitstable actor Jenna Russell

Read more

Kent Life meets some of the people working hard to save our historic vessels from the scrap heap

Read more

A scream pierced the foggy night, then all was silent, save for the sound of scurrying footsteps. Murder had been committed. Dare you read on?

Read more

Join us on a literary journey around the Kent coast to see how it has inspired writers over the centuries

Read more
Monday, November 4, 2019

Barn or castle, golf club or famous public school - the choice is endless for couples looking to tie the knot in Kent

Read more

Meet the young man determined to take his family's fruit and cobnut farm into the future

Read more
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Unveiled at the Turner Contemporary on 10th October, the new note will match the polymer £10 and £5 notes

Read more

Joseph Hewison on how his affinity with dogs led to a full-time career working with them every day

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life