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Developing Indicators and Thresholds for Monitoring the Landscape Impacts of Environmental Stewardship at the National Character Area Scale - LM0429

Agri-Environment (AE) Schemes provide funding to farmers and land managers in England to help them deliver effective environmental management on their land. The maintenance and enhancement of landscape quality and character is one of the primary objectives of Environmental Stewardship (ES) alongside the protection of the historic environment, the conservation of wildlife and the protection of natural resources. Monitoring the impact of ES options against landscape objectives needs to be made more robust through an understanding of what indicators and thresholds are appropriate as measures of success. This will provide a framework that can be used for the targeting of ES agreements and options or any future agri-environment and RDPE programmes.

This project will develop and pilot a robust method and relevant tools to provide and support a consistent approach for identifying landscape impact indicators and thresholds across all NCAs with a clear basis in identified NCA landscape characteristics. It will also complete the identification of indicators and thresholds for as many NCAs as practical within the contract timeframe.
To provide indicators and thresholds of landscape impact at NCA scale. This is to help better monitor the landscape impact of ES and to facilitate improved future agri-environment delivery that will secure good and enhanced landscape benefits through the targeting of appropriate land management options to particular places and in the quantity needed to have a significant landscape impact. Indicators and thresholds should be developed based from the detailed evidence being obtained through the Defra BD5303 research and development project, ‘Monitoring the Effects of Environmental Stewardship on Landscape Character and Quality’.

This will entail the following steps - :
a) Develop a method and supporting database that provides a consistent approach for identifying indicators and thresholds across all NCAs building on the methodology that is being developed under the BD5303 project. This needs to be something that Natural England can implement and adapt as & if required in future.

b) Pilot and quality check the approach across an appropriate number of NCAs to ensure that it works and will achieve consistency. Implement any modifications as a result of the piloting.

c) Roll out across as many of the remaining 123 NCAs as possible within the timescale, agreeing the prioritisation of NCAs with Natural England in advance.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM0429 NCA Indicators and Thresholds Assessment final report   (5034k)
• SUM - Summary Report : LM0429 NCA Indicators and Thresholds Users' Guide   (761k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : LM0429 NCA Indicators and Thresholds Methodology Report   (1391k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : LM0429 two page summary   (303k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2014

Cost: £89,350
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Land Use Consultants
Environmental Stewardship