Blog

What might ELMS look like?

Arable field margin copyright Simon Mortimer https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5700732

I have been asked to write a blog about the new farm support grant, the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).  This is due to replace the current Basic Farm Payment Scheme, aims to incentivise farmers to achieve environmental enhancement and protection and restore and improve natural capital and rural heritage.

Trial for ELMS schemes have just started and will run until 2022.  Pilots will then run until 2024 with the scheme currently planned to roll out from 2025.  Given the current political uncertainty, and the lack of information being put forward by Defra, there is not a lot one can definitely say on the subject.  Six years seems a very long lead in period for a scheme which was first muted back in 2015.  I think however that it is well worth considering some of the consequences that this long gestation might have.

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What is Landscape Architecture?

I am the newest member of the team at Land and Heritage Ltd.  When I was asked to write an article for our regular blog spot, I was a bit stumped – I’ve not been here that long, and having relocated to Cornwall from the East Midlands, I am still finding my feet in the South-West.  So I’ve gone back to basics – my remit for the business is to expand the services offered to include Landscape Architecture, so for the benefit of past, present and future clients I will pose the simple question:  Continue reading

Conserving Castle Landscapes

Castell Powys, or Powis Castle as the English know it, is a wonderful, striking medieval fortress and country mansion, sitting high on a hill overlooking the River Severn.  Once know as the ‘Red Castle’, it is internationally recognised for its high red terraces and battlements, which are clothed in enormous and ancient clipped yew topiary.  Continue reading

Biodiversity Net Gain

Wildflower meadow on Cornwall housing site

Over the past few years we have seen a number of milestone reports leading to shifts in Government policy which aim to halt the decline of biodiversity across the UK.  The first inkling of change was the Lawton report “Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network” published  by Defra in 2010 which identified that the existing system of protected sites and reserves was inadequate and insufficient to halt the rapid decline in UK wildlife.  Some of the recommendations of this report passed into policy In 2011 within the Government  White Paper “The Natural Choice  – securing the value of nature”.  Last year saw the publication of the 25-year Environment Plan which makes it clear that all future industrial, residential and infrastructure development is dependent on improving conditions for wildlife. Continue reading

Rural Diversification

The only certainty for farmers and landowners over the next few years is uncertainly.  For over 70 years individual farmers have benefited from price support and more recently from area payments for owning or farming land.  In leaving the EU it is likely that the Government will move towards a system of payments which require landowners for providing a range of public benefits based on ecosystem services.  Michael Gove has announced a pilot ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) to start in 2021, with the intention of it becoming national and replacing the current Basic Payments Scheme, and indeed Countryside Stewardship, in 2024.  How the detail will come about and whether Brexit will slow things remains to be seen, but we will all benefit from this policy which over time, which will improve air and water quality, reduce flood risk and enhance wildlife. Continue reading

South Hooe: recreating wetlands and species rich grassland

South Hooe Peninsula, from the Cornwall bank

We have recently been working on a contract for a private client, funded through Natural England, undertaking a feasibility study into the restoration of species rich grassland and also freshwater wetland habitats.  The Tamar Valley AONB is helping facilitate the work and it also involves the Environment Agency.  Add in to the mix that the landowner is a former Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group advisor and you have a rather nice group of people to work for! Continue reading

Environmental consulting sector defies Brexit concerns

The latest market research report published by Environment Analyst (https://environment-analyst.com/) shows that the UK environmental consulting (EC) market grew by 5.1% during 2017 to reach a total turnover of £1.74bn.  Continued growth for the UK environment sector is expected to be around 4.8% for 2018 when all the figures become available.

Large infrastructure projects, increased public sector spend and streamlined management  structures are helping consultancies to achieve continued healthy growth, so there is no evidence of Brexit blues at the current time.

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Landscape Architect Joins the Team

Amanda Urmson is a Landscape Architect with over 18 years’ experience in both public and private sectors. She is experienced in multi-disciplinary team work on major developments, and in partnering contracts and frameworks. Fluent in end-to-end working on various types of project, including urban spaces; infrastructure and highways schemes; schools; public open spaces, and reclamation schemes, Amanda has built strong project management skills, and a good breadth of knowledge across environmental sectors, structure planning and development control. Continue reading

The Montgomery Canal: Restoring a Site of Special Scientific Interest

Current canal restoration, with newt exclusion fencing

This blog has some historical information, but please indulge me as I include some information from a previous job restoring the Montgomery Canal!  The canal is a SSSI for large sections of its length and also a SAC in Wales, primarily for rare aquatic plants, which happily co-existed with horse-drawn barges, but do not like modern propellers and silt disturbance.  Add in 127 listed structures, the 1986 Parliamentary Acct to restore the canal and many active restoration volunteers and you have quite a mix.

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Job Opportunity: Landscape Architect

 

Leeds Castle gardens design (Land and Heritage)

What is a landscape architect? We are generally very familiar with ‘Architects’ designing built structures, and with engineers making them happen, but what about the open spaces surrounding and between structures? They rarely simply ‘happen’ and require a level of thought from the modest to the sublime. Many of us are familiar with garden designers and landscapers, backed up by a host of television coverage from quick fix gardens to the Chelsea flower show design sets, but what about parks, towns and large landscapes? Continue reading