15 September 2017

Farmer wins prestigious lapwing award

2017 Winner Edward Flatt Charles Beaumount Chris Butler Duncan Sinclair

FWAG/Waitrose Silver Lapwing Awards 2017: from left, Duncan Sinclair, agriculture manager at Waitrose; Mike Hedges, chair of the Welsh Assembly Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee; winner Edward Flatt, Silver Lapwing judge Edward Charles Beaumont, FWAG Association chair Chris Butler. Picture: Richard Stanton.

A FARMER has been recognised by the farming and conservation industry for his outstanding efforts to promote good habitat and environmental management on his farm.

Edward Flatt, of Eastwood Farm, near Lowestoft, Suffolk, received the highly-coveted ‘Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) National Silver Lapwing Award, in partnership with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and Linking Environment and Farming.

The award, now in its 40th year, is sponsored by the Waitrose Farming Partnership and recognises farmers who go the extra mile to protect and enhance the countryside in which they farm.

Edward was chosen from a national shortlist of seven farms, each selected for demonstrating outstanding commitment to good environmental practices, alongside the production of high-quality food.

He said: “I am delighted to have won the Silver Lapwing Award. To win such a prestigious award for conservation and sustainability, against competition from farmers across Britain, is a real honour. I am very grateful to my Suffolk FWAG adviser, Tim Schofield and my landlord, Hugh Crossley, for helping me get to this point.”

Behind Edward in second place was Home Farm, near Cirencester, owned by Will Chester Master and managed by John Newman, with the other finalists named as Martin Copley, James Thomson, Keri and Julie Davies, Alexander Izat and Martin, James & William Osborne.

Agriculture manager for Waitrose, Duncan Sinclair, said: "It is always inspirational to see the amazing work undertaken by our Silver Lapwing finalists. With the global focus on standards in British farming, could there be any better testament to the passion and ingenuity of the stewards of our landscape? Well done to them all and well done to Edward Flatt, our very worthy winner."

Silver Lapwing Award head judge, Charles Beaumont, said: “Working closely with Suffolk FWAG's Tim Schofield, Edward Flatt has used his own environmental knowledge and experience of growing spring crops on light land to produce a first-rate effort. It was his 12 metre cultivated headlands that really caught the eye - brilliantly executed, with perfect timing, they have produced a profusion of rare arable plants."

More than 110 people from all sectors of the British farming and agriculture industry attended the award ceremony, which included a sit-down lunch, followed by a farm walk to the top of Allt yr Esgair Camp to see the conservation work the Rodericks have undertaken on the site of an Iron Age Hill fort. The tour of the farm demonstrated why the Rodericks were such deserving winners of the award in 2016.

Chairman of the FWAG Association, Chris Butler, said: “I am delighted to see another worthy winner in the 40th year of the Silver Lapwing Awards. It is vital for organisations, such as FWAG, to continue to promote the great work that many farmers do to protect our environment. Edward Flatt is an exemplar of how to do it right and he has been justly recognised by the judges for all of his hard work in conservation, alongside the production of great food.”

Additional notes:

About the FWAG Silver Lapwing Award:

The Silver Lapwing is an award for farmers who have demonstrated a real commitment to species and habitat conservation and have been able to show how they integrate their environmental management with their overall farm business. The award also recognises those that  have shown a dedication to understanding and conserving the historic aspects of their farm.

Additionally, consideration is given to the farm’s approach to conserving natural resources; this includes good soil management, the protection of water quality and efficient use of water and energy. These are all areas that the judges consider on their tour of the competition finalists.

This is the 9th year the award has been sponsored by Waitrose Farming Partnership and the FWAG Association is very grateful for their support.

About the FWAG Association: The national FWAG Association represents local Farming & Wildlife Advisory Groups (FWAGs) across the UK in partnership with the GWCT and LEAF.  These groups have helped British farmers for over four decades, providing trusted, independent, environmental advice.

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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