The Countryside Survey
The UK’s biggest ever countryside survey
starts this week
The biggest and most comprehensive survey of the natural
resources of the British countryside begins this week. The
Countryside Survey will be carried out by a team of over sixty
specially trained scientists working for the Centre for Ecology
& Hydrology. CCW is a member of the Countryside Survey
Partnership who guide and support the Survey.
In excess of 600 one kilometre squares of the English, Welsh and
Scottish countryside will be surveyed over the next four months.
Information will be collected on natural landscape features
including plant communities and habitats within farmland, woods,
heathland, moors, soils, small rivers and ponds. At the same time a
complementary survey will be carried out in Northern Ireland,
completing the picture for the UK.
The results of the survey will provide a unique audit of our
environmental assets generating an overall picture of the current
status of our countryside. This is especially important as the
countryside faces major challenges such as climate change,
pollution, non-native species and the introduction of new crops
including biofuels. The first results are due in Autumn 2008.
The 2007 Countryside Survey is the fifth in a sequence that
stretches back to 1978. The survey provides evidence that informs
us about the status of our countryside and feeds into new
Government policies. The last survey, which reported in 2000,
demonstrated the effectiveness of this system by confirming a
reversal in the decline of hedgerows. Countryside Survey data from
1978 onwards had provided evidence of the extent of this decline
which led to changes in legislation and new agricultural policies
encouraging more effective land management.
The full Countryside Survey partnership consists of the Natural
Environment Research Council, the Centre for Ecology &
Hydrology and eight government departments and agencies headed by
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Dr David Allen, Environmental Monitoring Manager for CCW
comments: "The expanded survey in Wales is a real step forward, and
will add significantly to our ability to describe the welsh
countryside and how it changes over time."