The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is to commission an appraisal of management agreements under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) scheme. This will form one of a suite of projects to be let under the integrated agri-environment monitoring and evaluation programme (2000 2006), that will enable the Authority to report on the contribution of agri-environment schemes in England to a wide range of policies, including the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP), the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and internal reviews of individual schemes.
This new study will be concerned with an in-depth evaluation of a sample of recently initiated ESA management agreements. A key requirement will be to assess the appropriateness of the agreements in terms of, and in relation to, the objectives of the management tiers, taking into account factors such as value for money, environmental effectiveness, feasibility and additionality and identifying any shortcomings or missed opportunities.
The study will be carried out over a period of approximately eleven months, with the start up period including the project planning, detailed design and the devising of the sampling strategies and method protocols. It will focus on a sample of recent agreements i.e. that have been initiated in the last 2 3 years. It is envisaged that the sample will be drawn from a selection of ESAs chosen to provide a range of environments and agreement types/tiers.
The methods used will be based on those adopted in the Agreement Appraisal module of the Countryside Stewardship Monitoring Programme 1997 2000 (see Monitoring and Evaluation of Countryside Stewardship Scheme, draft Methodology Report, November 2000, which is included with the Invitation To Tender).
The outputs of the study will be of particular use to the Authority in contributing information to an internal review of agri-environment schemes in 2002/03.