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CAP proposals are bad news for wildlife and farmers in Northern England


Proposals for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) unveiled today are a let down for wildlife friendly farmers in Northern England.

That’s the message from the RSPB and farmers who are doing their bit to create space for nature in our countryside.

The European Commission today released full details of its plans for a reformed CAP. The new policy would mean less support for targeted environmental measures on farms and is bad news for farmers working on the most wildlife-rich land in Europe.

The document unveiled today confirms fears of an overall cut in funding for agri environment schemes. On top of this European Member States could be free to re-allocate already overstretched rural development funding away from these schemes. There is also no targeted support proposed for High Nature Value (HNV) farmers and crofters in areas such as the Scottish Highlands and Islands which provide vital habitats for wildlife.

Gareth Morgan, RSPB head of countryside conservation, said: “This is very worrying news for anyone who cares about the wildlife in our countryside.

“Many farmers in the UK work hard to put in place measures on their land to help farmland birds and other wildlife. But Brussels’ plans to cut cash for environmental farming schemes in the UK mean this work is under threat exactly at a time when we need to see this support grow.

“The Common Agricultural Policy is paid for by taxpayers and one of its main responsibilities is to protect and enhance nature the very building blocks of food production. From what we have heard today, the new plans are built to fail.

“We welcome the addition of new rules, such as a basic requirement to put a proportion of farmland to be put into environmental management but on its own this will not restore the wildlife in our farmed countryside.

“To achieve that aim we also need to make more money available for targeted, scientifically robust schemes that benefit threatened species as well as diverting much needed resources to High Nature Value farms which are so rich in wildlife.

“But these are just proposals. Now is the moment for the UK Government to translate admirable rhetoric about reform of the CAP into clever footwork in Brussels that will turn these disappointing proposals around. They have until 2014 to make a difference.”

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