25 Years of Agri-environment Schemes

It has been 25 years since agri-environment schemes were introduced to protect our English countryside. Managed by Natural England, agri-environment schemes have developed through time, from the launch of Environmental Sensitive Areas (ESA) Schemes in 1987, and their replacement by the more targeted Environmental Stewardship Scheme in 2005. Natural England reports that currently 68% of available farmland in England are under one of the agri-environment schemes, which have provided support to farmers and have produced a wide range of environmental benefits. 

To mark this Silver Jubilee, Natural England has produced an evolutionary timeline, illustrating the development of agri-environment schemes against key milestones in the Common Agricultural Policy. They are also in the process of developing an interactive map illustrating case studies, scheme uptake and expenditure within each county. 

For more information on agri-environment schemes and case studies go to: