Information sheet

Environment systems evidence and insights logo

About the research

Land Use Consultants (LUC), in partnership with Environment Systems Ltd and the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire, are working on behalf of Natural England to understand the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes. The research will conduct field surveys and seek the views of farmers and land managers who currently have, or have had in the past, either a Higher Level Stewardship agreement or a Countryside Stewardship agreement. The work, which is funded by Defra, is seeking to understand how agri-environment scheme (AES) agreements have changed the environmental quality of the land and the impact they have had on agreement holders and the business that manages that land and the land around it.

What will happen next?

The researchers plan to conduct field surveys over the coming months. You will be contacted in the next few days by LUC or Environment Systems to answer any questions you have and seeking permission to access your land. Later in the project, the CCRI is planning to undertake face-to-face interviews about your views on your agreement and land management. You will be provided more information about face-to-face interviews by CCRI when you are asked to participate in those.

This information sheet provides information on the field survey. Before you decide whether to take part, it is important you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following FAQs and then decide whether you would be prepared to take part.

Who are LUC, Environment Systems and the CCRI?

LUC ( is an environmental consultancy providing planning, impact assessment, landscape design, ecology and geospatial services to a wide range of public and private sector clients. Environment Systems ( is an established environmental and agricultural data company, based in Aberystwyth and formed in 2003, providing trusted evidence and insight to governments and industry across the world.

The CCRI, within the University of Gloucestershire, is a specialist rural research institute working at the interface of agriculture, society and the environment. Learn more about the institute here:

Why am I being asked to participate?

Monitoring the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes is important to understand their impact and improve their design and operation. To do this we want to assess changes in biodiversity and landscape and hear the views of agreement holders. This survey is focussed on locations which have been previously visited. This means you may have previously participated in previous monitoring projects. We want to capture the environmental benefits of any land management currently taking place and your views and experiences relating to your agri-environment scheme.

If I participate, what is my data going to be used for?

The field survey data will be used by LUC, Environment Systems and the CCRI to write a report relating to agri-environment scheme outcomes. This report will be sent to Defra and Natural England and eventually be made publicly available. We may also publish academic articles using the survey data. It will not be possible to identify you, your agreement or your holding in any published reports. The survey is intended to provide Natural England/Defra with important feedback on the wider environmental benefits provided by agri-environment schemes. It is not designed as an audit or inspection.

What will happen to my data? Who will see it?

We will make both the project report, and species and habitat data collected, freely available for use as ‘open data’, as part of Natural England’s ongoing work to become a more open and transparent public body. The survey data we make available will generally consist of species and habitat records. We will not include any details of the agreements themselves (e.g. options undertaken) or personal details of agreement holders (such as names, addresses, or other contact details). The data collected as part of the project will be owned by Natural England and may be used in future research by Natural England or its partners and contractors.

Environmentally sensitive data may be released with reduced detail to ensure harm will not occur. Please discuss any concerns with the field data team and they can answer your questions. Please see Natural England’s Open Biodiversity Position Statement for more information (

What will Natural England do with my data?

Under the General Data Protection Regulations, you can contact Natural England to:

  • Request to access the personal data held about you
  • Request your personal data is updated (i.e. to reflect a change of name)
  • Request to be rectified (if you feel the data is inaccurate or incomplete)
  • Request to have the data erased (i.e. to withdraw your data from the dataset and any future resurveys)

Please see the accompanying Privacy Notice for further information, which includes information about how long your personal data will be stored.

Do I have to take part?

No. It is entirely up to you whether you decide to participate and you can withdraw at any time, even if you initially agree to take part.

What are the possible benefits of participation?

This research offers a unique opportunity to feedback your experiences of agri-environment schemes. This may be used to help improve the effectiveness of schemes for you and others in the future.

Can I change my mind?

Yes. You can withdraw from the research at any time, however it may not be possible to withdraw your data once it has been incorporated into the analysis.

If you withdraw your data, this means that it will be securely deleted and it won’t be analysed as part of the research.

Contact details:

Tel. 07423 615487