James Foskett Farms take their environmental responsibilities very seriously and it is our policy to continually improve our growing systems and standards to meet our environmental and social responsibilities.
On the 1st of August 2012 Mosscliff Environmental Ltd installed a 250 KVA solar photovoltaic system at Low Farm to help the business cut its carbon footprint by generating some of its own electricity from the sun. The solar panels are mounted in a field near the onion store and the electricity which is produced is split 3 ways into 3 meters so we can use as much as we power on a daily basis ourselves before we feed any surplus back into the National Grid. This has been an expensive project but very worthwhile for the future, the environment and the business. Thanks to Jon Bell at Mosscliff for his time and expertise. In 2016 Mosscliffe added another 50 KVA solar system to a new building at Low Farm giving us a total of 300 KVA on the Farm—unfortunately the National Grid is not capable of taking any more power in this area so future investment will be restricted to some of the new battery storage systems currently being developed.
Our farms have a commitment to wildlife and landscape conservation and enhancement. Nothing will be done that deliberately harms the environment and thought will be taken during all farming operations.
The existing wildlife habitats and landscape character has been assessed and evaluated and an overall farm plan has been prepared and implemented. The overall objective is to protect and encourage diversity of wildlife and respect and enhance the character of our farms in the Deben Valley. Such enhancement acknowledges and respects officially designated environmental sites and complies with current wildlife and other relevant legislation.
Low Farm at Bromeswell was in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (15CSS010260) member of Leaf Marque Standard (146430), member of FWAG and member of the Game Conservancy Trust. These organisations help and encourage farming businesses to be responsible for the management of their existing habitats, which in our case include hedges, field margins, watercourses, ponds ,wetlands, woodlands, scrub and heath land.
20% of Low Farm is uncropped and there is ESA, SSSI, SPA and RAMSAR sites on the farm.
The Farm is actively involved in game management, shooting and conservation, and a small shoot is run in conjunction with the arable enterprise. This in itself encourages the planting of woodlands, hedges and game crops in an attempt to increase wildlife habitats. There is also a woodland grant scheme in place which has allowed us to plant new woodland, coppice and manage old woodland to create a better habitat. In 2012, 650 meters of new hedges were planted at Low Farm.
There are several ponds and irrigation reservoirs on the farm as well as reed beds, which encourages a very diverse spread of different species. Hedges, margins and some reeds are cut rotationally to give good cover during winter and for spring nesting sites, as well as leaving food sources when they are most needed in January and February.
The farm is host to several footpaths which are managed by us for the benefit of the general public to enjoy. This is encouraged by us, so long as walkers stay on paths, respect the countryside and keep dogs on leads.
Low Farm features a number of key BAP habitats and species for which the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths ANOB is important.
Some of the more unusual species found include:-
Black poplar, bittern, kingfisher, water rail, turtle dove, redshank, greenshank, common sandpiper, oystercatcher, barn owl, nightingale, skylark, linnet, corn bunting, reed bunting, bearded tit, lapwing, little egret, little grebe, sand martin, spotted flycatcher and yellow wagtail, water vole, otters and several species of deer.
Despite arable farming being the predominant land use, there is a very rich and varied range of plant, bird and invertebrate species characteristic of the natural area, including a small number which are nationally rare, and many local rarities.