Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Cumulative impact of Environmental Stewardship on landscape character - BD5303

BD5303: Main study

The aim of the project is to develop and test a robust, repeatable and comprehensive evaluation framework for reporting and monitoring the direct and cumulative impacts of Environmental Stewardship ((O)ELS & (O)HLS) on the maintenance and enhancement of landscape character and quality at a variety of scales. This will use a series of quantitative and qualitative techniques that, taken together, will:

i. Measure the impact of ES on the maintenance and enhancement of landscape character and quality/condition, allowing judgement to be made on the degree to which the ES landscape objective has been met
ii. Assess counterfactuals that compare landscape effects with and without ES (the net effect of ES) and the landscape effects of ES compared to the Classic agri-environment schemes.’
iii. Evaluate the cumulative impact of ES (and the options within it) on landscape character and quality/condition;
iv. Define lessons learned from the targeting and operation of ES that can be applied to landscape character and quality in the next agri-environment programme
v. Be able to report at a range of appropriate scales and link in with existing landscape monitoring and research projects
vi. Be consistent with the European Landscape Convention

BD5303 extension: NELMS Opportunity Study (NOS)

An extension to BD5303 is to assess (a) the potential effects on landscape of a reduction in the land coverage of agri-environment schemes in England; and (b) to consider the landscape effects of a new agri-environment scheme (NELMS) with reduced coverage.

The specific focus is on the reduced coverage (70% to 40% UAA) of ELS and the ‘Mid-Tier’ of NELMS that will replace ELS (and the ELS associated schemes). In parallel it is anticipated that under NELMS the area of HLS and the ‘Upper-Tier’ of NELMS that will replace it, will stay relatively static.

BD5303: Main study

Obj 1. To set the methods and outputs of this project within the context of (and making relevant links to), other current NE landscape research and monitoring projects such as
• LIANE (Landscape – an Integrated Approach for Natural England), this includes work on updating NCA descriptions and objectives,
• CQuEL (the Character and Condition of England’s Landscapes),
• NE monitoring work looking at ‘Integrating Indicators of Success’,
• NE R&D work looking at the resilience and adaptation of landscapes to climate change.

Obj 2. To produce a new database of key landscape characteristics that enables evaluation of landscape character and quality at a variety of scales.

Obj 3. To review the landscape character and quality methodologies and outputs from any previous evaluations of Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs), Countryside Stewardship (CSS) and ES mid-term evaluations (and evaluations and reviews of their effectiveness) to identify ‘lessons learned’, best practice and lessons for this project.

Obj 4. To develop and test through substantial pilot work a method which can be used as part of widespread monitoring and evaluation.

Obj 5. To use the developed method to set out and evaluate counterfactual scenarios that identify the effect of ES on landscape character and condition; and the effect of large scale coverage versus scattered locations.

Obj 6. To use the database of key characteristics, along with information and outcomes from piloting the method to:
• develop robust ‘Indicators of Success’ at an appropriate scale for all landscapes to enable the measurement of progress in maintaining and conserving character and quality, linking this work into the current NE project that is developing field-based assessment forms and guidance for assessing HLS delivery;
• design a framework (or flow diagram) which allows the identification of thresholds indicating where changes in land management would begin to impact on landscape character, quality and function (for example resilience to climate change), and whether these impacts are positive or negative.

Obj 7. To compile a detailed, analytical report, based on the results of objectives 2-6 above, which identifies and examines amendments and improvements to scheme operation that would improve delivery of the maintenance and enhancement of landscape character and quality and that takes into account scheme development, including ecosystems services and climate change objectives.

BD5303 extension: NELMS Opportunity Study (NOS)

Obj 1. To quantify the impact on landscape of a reduction in ELS UAA coverage from 70% to 40%.
Obj 2: To extrapolate through quantitative and qualitative predictions the impact of a new agri-environment scheme with reduced land coverage.
Obj 3: To comment on whether a better targeted scheme with higher quality agreements would compensate for the loss of coverage:
Obj 4. To describe any limitations and uncertainties in the results and underlying
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : BD5303 Methodology Report Appendix 8: Alternative Monitoring Approaches   (421k)
• FRP - Final Report : BD5303 Overview synthesis Report   (1533k)
• FRP - Final Report : BD5303 Report of Findings at Study Area level   (9779k)
• FRP - Final Report : BD5303 Report of Findings: Landscape effects of Environmental Stewardship at the NCA and ALT level   (6719k)
• EXE - Executive Summary : BD5303 Exec Summary   (110k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : BD5303 Public Engagement Report   (1178k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : BD5303 Report of Findings: Counterfactuals   (1223k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : NELMS Opportunity Assessment: Final Report Ch1-3   (9216k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : NELMS Opportunity Assessment: Final Report Ch4 +   (6906k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : NELMS Opportunity Assessment: Two page summary   (294k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2013

Cost: £344,924
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Land Use Consultants - Bristol
Environmental Stewardship