Belfast Telegraph

Rural cash for wildlife aid hailed

By Linda Stewart

More farmers should be allowed to enter a scheme that would pay them to make wildlife-friendly improvements.

The RSPB says Stormont should stump up more cash to let more farmers into its agri-environment schemes.

The wildlife group welcomed Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill's announcement that the schemes will be extended for up to 18 months.

They were due to end on December 31, 2012.

RSPB land use policy officer John Martin said: "Many of Northern Ireland's farmers are stepping up for nature by carrying out wildlife and environmentally friendly farming. By extending these agreements, Dard (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) is bridging the gap between this round of rural development and the next."

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