CAP reform will not help nature’s recovery
Thursday 13th October 2011
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is disappointed by the European Commission’s proposals on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy, published today. It will shape the way farmland is managed between 2014-2020 and hence determine the health of our natural environment.
The wildlife charity was hoping to see an increased percentage of the EU agriculture budget spent on delivering a range of robust environmental measures, including protection for wildlife-rich grasslands and restoration of fragmented habitats. But these proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy will fail to properly reward farmers for taking measures to protect and restore the natural environment.
Duncan Hutt, Head of Land Management at Northumberland Wildlife Trust said: “We are concerned that just a small percentage of the EU agriculture budget will be allocated to funding for high quality agri-environment schemes, and this might turn back the clock on investments that have been made in recent years. There are also uncertainties surrounding the ‘greening’ measures farmers will have to undertake to receive their direct payments and whether they will provide any real benefit. They may even hinder protection and restoration of the natural environment.
“Agricultural policy for the future must help nature’s recovery. It is of critical concern. A healthy natural environment is an essential part of sustainable farming systems.”
The wildlife charity will join the other 46 wildlife trusts throughout the UK to respond to a UK consultation, led by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The final European Union (EU) budget is expected to be announced in spring 2012.