Abstract: The origins of agri-environment schemes (AES) lie with safeguarding SSSIs in the late 1960s and there have been comprehensive schemes since the late 1980s. Despite this the quality of the agricultural environment and the diversity of its wildlife have continued to decline. The reason is that all systems of agricultural subsidy and protection reduce risk, thereby increasing the return on investment in intensification and specialisation. AES will not work in the broad unless and until agricultural support is removed. The latest proposed modifications of AES recognise this.
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