The Isle of Man Government has appointed Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT) as its delivery partner for the new Island-wide Agri-Environment Scheme (AES).
Under the AES farmers can apply for targeted funding for projects that benefit the environment, enhance biodiversity or mitigate climate change on their land. A wide range of grants are available for initiatives such as habitat creation, tree planting and flood reduction.
The partnership will see MWT providing free expert on-farm consultations and advising with applications, with DEFA maintaining full control of the AES.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), said: ‘Our hard-working farmers are the custodians of our environment and this targeted support is helping them play an even bigger role.’
‘It supports our climate change goals, encourages habitat creation, boosts biodiversity and delivers on our UNESCO Biosphere targets, which are core Government objectives.’
‘AES also supports active farmers to ensure that economic activity is maximised and the future of farming is sustainable – so we are excited to work with MWT to make sure these projects are as successful as possible.’
Leigh Morris, CEO of MWT, said: ‘We’re delighted to be able play an even greater role in protecting and restoring the Manx countryside, by helping to drive an increase in nature friendly farming across the 88% of the Isle of Man that is agricultural land. Our help will not cost Manx farmers a penny and we are looking forward to helping them to get the most from the scheme.’
David Bellamy, MWT Agri-Environment Officer, said: ‘This new scheme will reward farmers for the vital role they have in protecting our cherished landscape and wildlife. The scheme will help to preserve and restore biodiversity on our farms, improve our inland and coastal water quality and help farmers join the fight against climate change. In time the new scheme will boost pollinator numbers and help halt the decline of species such as Curlew and Tree Sparrow while restoring the right conditions for lost breeding species such as Lapwing and Yellowhammer.’
Last year MWT and the Manx National Farmers' Union (MNFU) signed a memorandum of understanding which stated their desire to work more closely for the benefit of the environment, and MWT aim to work with all Manx Active Farmers within the AES.
Carolyn Lace, Assistant General Secretary at MNFU, said: ‘We are delighted that Manx Wildlife Trust has been selected for this important scheme, and we look forward to working with them and making it a success for sustainable agriculture.’
The AES was launched on 1 April and is a voluntary scheme open to all Active Farmers who can apply online or request hard copy forms from DEFA.
Find out more about the AES scheme here - https://www.mwt.im/what-we-do/agri-environment-scheme