ONE of Britain's leading landowners says that rural conservation work is being seriously damaged because farm profitability is so low.
Mr Mark Hudson, deputy president of the Country Landowners and Business Association, is calling for an increase in the number of joint partnerships between farmers and various Government bodies which allow farmers to carry out vital conservation work to protect landscape, wildlife and structures like barns, hedgerows and dry stone walls.
Writing in the CLA's magazine, Agenda, he points out that joint conservation schemes like the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) have allowed farmers to build conservation work into their everyday work patterns.
He adds: "We call for a mature partnership with the countryside agencies responsible for heritage policies and controls, based more on co-operation than regulation.
"Given the right conditions, private sector involvement and initiative in conserving our countryside heritage can bring lasting and major benefits for rural businesses and communities and the wider public alike."