• Written by Andrew Davis
  • Posted on Dec 09, 2021
  • Articles

Increase in Red List

The latest report of birds of conservation concern has just been published.  Of the 245 species regularly seen in the UK, 70 are now on the Red List of highest conservation concern, an increase from 36 over the past 25 years.  There are 103 species on the Amber List and 72 on the Green List.  Swift, house martin, greenfinch and Berwick’s swan have been added to the Red list whilst the white-tailed eagle has moved from Red to Amber.  It is extremely worrying that over a quarter of our birds are now seriously threatened despite efforts to help them.

Payment Rates for SFI

Secretary of State George Eustice has announced more details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.  Three standards will be available next year: arable and horticultural soils, improved grassland soils and moorland and rough grazing.  The rate of grant will depend on the level of activity, introductory or intermediate for each standard; £22 and £40 per hectare for arable and horticultural soils and £28 and £58 per hectare for improved grassland soils.  Farmers’ leaders have expressed disappointment at the inadequate rates of grant whilst the National Trust, Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB have condemned the plans for their ‘shocking lack of ambition’.

Bugs not Soya

In an interesting collaboration between the supermarket Morrisons and start-up firm Better Origin, food waste from Morrisons’ fruit and vegetable site in Yorkshire is fed to freshly hatched insect larvae.  Just before the larvae pupate, they are fed to laying hens at Morrisons’ poultry farms.  The insect protein can partially replace imported soya in the chickens’ diet.

Gene Editing

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has warned that gene editing in livestock breeding must be heavily regulated to protect animal welfare.   The Government is considering relaxing prohibition, saying it will take a ‘step-by-step approach to enable gene editing, starting with plants only and then reviewing the application to animals’.