Big brother is watching you

Big brother is watching you

One of the drivers for the recent consultation on strengthening the legal framework for protecting hedges, on which we reported here, is the decoupling of the remaining BPS payments which means that cross-compliance obligations that applied to the management and protection of hedgerows (and many other farming practices) will no longer apply. That also means that there will be no deductions from remaining payments where there have been what we currently know as cross-compliance breaches.

If you have been wondering how future land management changes (positive and negative) are going to be monitored for both payment and enforcement purposes, today’s press release from the UK Space Agency may provide some clues. Alongside the positive language about “supporting businesses up and down our country to grow our economy while driving forward our ambition to make the UK a major player in space”, the key themes are clear and are about using satellite, AI and earth observation technologies to tackle water pollution, carbon emissions and biodiversity threats and that “the unique perspective that space provides can play a major role in securing the health of our planet and people”.

Observant readers will note that the projects that have secured funding include a machine learning-based solution to model and monitor nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions from agricultural land; an automated mapping and reporting service for watercourse climate resilience; the rapid assessment of climate impact focusing on biodiversity and nature-related risks; freshwater management forecasting to provide an up-to-date picture of climate change and pollution impacts; and a weighted scoring model to measure critical environmental indicators to minimise the climate impact on farmland.

We get the picture.

 

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