Langfield Common is a 595ha common in the South Pennines comprising a number of important vegetation mosaics, providing habitat for numerous plants and bird species. The common is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Conservation Area (SCA).
Rural Futures facilitated a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and Upland Entry Level Scheme (UELS) agreement on behalf of 60 gait holders to secure an agreement worth £528,000 over the 10 period, with a further £209,000 of capital payments for walling, footpath and peat restoration.
Rural Futures provided technical and ecological expertise to prepare a Farm Environmental Plan and submit the application. A management plan was drawn up with Natural England to bring benefits to the upland heath and moorland vegetation, wet and dry moorland and rough grazing, blanket bog, historic features and important bird species including curlew, snipe, twite, ring ousel, golden plover and merlin. The heather restoration works included in the annual burning plan has been agreed with funding for this activity.
Sustainable stocking levels have been negotiated with active graziers and compensation allowances established for all right holders. A management group has been formed and legal side agreements prepared. Rural Futures acted as the coordinator for the negotiation process and provided the technical and legal support required.
The contract required complex negotiations and engagement with numerous interested parties to secure the agreement, which will bring physical and financial benefits to the common and all right holders. Rural Futures will also provide administration services to monitor capital works, submit claims and distribute annual payments throughout the lifetime of the agreement.