Farming bosses welcome government response to independent review on Dartmoor

The British farming community warmly welcomed the recent government response to the independent review of Dartmoor, saying that it has carefully considered given recommendations and offered workable solutions for everyone. 

The British farming community warmly welcomed the recent government response to the independent review of Dartmoor, saying that it has carefully considered given recommendations and offered workable solutions for everyone. 

The response to the independent review of protected site management on Dartmoor sets out a number of priorities to ensure farmers on Dartmoor are supported to produce food sustainably and run viable businesses while protecting important habitats and species across Dartmoor.  

These include boosting farmers’ confidence in Environmental Land Management schemes, as well as transitioning from Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements. 

It also encourages collaborative relationships between Natural England and the British public, backing a robust strategy with long-term governance for Dartmoor.   

In harmony with food production 

Steve Barclay MP

The news follows the environment secretary Steve Barclay meeting with farmers and wider stakeholders to discuss the long-term vision for the management of Dartmoor last month. 

He said: “I’ve heard firsthand the challenges faced by all those who live and work on Dartmoor, and our response sets out how we will ensure that farmers remain central to ensuring that we have healthy and varied habitats on Dartmoor which work in harmony with food production. 

“I’d like to thank David Fursdon and the panel for their work on this important review, and I hope that we can continue to work together to protect and enhance this breathtaking landscape.”  

Discussing the practical steps

A key recommendation in the review is the creation of a Land Use Management Group (LUMG) to develop a multifunctional land use framework and long-term plan for Dartmoor.   

Defra confirmed that the LUMG will be set up later this year and run for two years. The government will appoint an independent chair who will be supported by a secretariat provided by the Dartmoor National Park Authority in the day-to-day running of the group.    

Defra has also set out its ambition to make it easier for land managers to understand site designations and associated requirements, such as for those farming on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and to make monitoring and evaluation of these sites more transparent.  

David Fursdon, chair of the review

David Fursdon, chair of the review, said he is “pleased” to see the government supporting many of the recommendations included in the review.  

He added: “Those responsible for the future of Dartmoor and its special features need to come together now in an open and transparent way to discuss the practical steps necessary to restore and enhance this special place.  

“This will require careful management, properly funded. This is their chance. They may not get another.” 

Vision for Dartmoor 

NFU warmly welcomed the response, pointing out that its key recommendation, the creation of the Land Use Management Group (LUMG), will encourage positive working relationships and help farmers deliver for food production, the environment, and wider public goods.  

Mat Cole

NFU South uplands chair, Mat Cole, said: “As someone who farms on Dartmoor every day, I am pleased with the well thought out recommendations from Defra for the future of protected sites. It is evident that food production, alongside environmental delivery and the range of public goods farmers provide across Dartmoor, has been considered.  

“The success of the LUMG depends on farmers voices continuing to be heard, particularly as we transition to new environmental support schemes. It is also critical that Defra has continued oversight of Natural England’s relationships with stakeholders to ensure a positive way of working.    

“We look forward to working with the government further on the vision for Dartmoor. Farmers are part of the solution, and we can work together to produce food, boost biodiversity and look after the environment.”   

Making most of land and businesses 

The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH) is also satisfied with the recent governmental response. 

Its chief executive, Stephen Jacob, said: “Successful farming on Dartmoor means running productive and profitable farm businesses in harmony with the diverse ecosystem that makes the area so special.  

Stephen Jacob

“TIAH membership will offer Dartmoor farmers additional support by helping them develop their knowledge and access a diverse range of tailored material.   

“Each farmer who chooses to join TIAH will be able to tap into the information that is most relevant to their own situation, such as the technical aspects of farming, business development, adopting innovation, or environmental management.  

“We hope that, alongside the range of other measures to which the government has committed in its review, this will strengthen Dartmoor farmers’ ability to make the most of their land and businesses while enhancing the local ecosystem for years to come.” 

Read more political news.

© Farmers Guide 2024. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy

Website Design by Unity Online

We have moved!

We’ve now moved to our new office in Stowmarket. If you wish to contact us please use our new address:

Unit 3-4 Boudicca Road, Suffolk Central Business Park, Stowmarket, IP14 1WF

Thank you,

The Farmers Guide Team