Call to spare countryside services
The Government is being urged not to cut funding for services vital to the countryside.
Campaigners from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) are travelling to the constituencies of ministers responsible for deciding on budget cuts to deliver their message this week.
Billboards reading: "Don't cut the life from our countryside" will be erected in fields and at road junctions, with banners carrying the same slogan put up in towns and villages. Some banners will also be pulled through streets on the back of bicycles.
Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB's director of conservation, said: "They have to make meaningful cuts without harming vital services. We have been arguing very strongly that the natural environment is not the place to make swingeing cuts."
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, all of whom will have a role to play in the decision on spending cuts, are the ministers being targeted by campaigners.
Dr Avery added: "Defra's budget amounts to just half a penny out of every pound the Government spends, yet that modest investment brings huge returns in the form of wildlife, clean air and water, flood alleviation, carbon sequestration and pollination.
"Such things are beyond price and their loss would be too high a price to pay to balance the books."