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CSR settlements show some good sense but devil in detail, says CLA


The Comprehensive Spending Review settlements by Defra, DECC and DCLG display some good sense, but the full impact of the cuts is still unclear, the CLA said today (20 October).

The CLA said it was pleased Defra said it is reprioritising its spending to focus on food and environment, something the Association had been calling for since 2007.

On environmental stewardship, CLA President William Worsley said he was delighted that the contribution to biodiversity of land owners and managers has been recognised by Defra maintaining its commitment to environmental stewardship. However, we are worried by the implication that the eligibility criteria may be restricted.

On the surprise 80 percent increase in Higher Level Stewardship (HLS), the CLA said this means that HLS is now by far the main source of funding for privately owned heritage, another reason why it is good news.

On flood defence, the CLA President said it was welcome that extra funding has been found for flood and coastal defences, but said it would not be enough.

Mr Worsley said: The Government must still work to make it easier for land owners and managers to maintain their own flood defences without having to work through the excessive regulation which currently places a heavy burden on the process.

On rural broadband, Mr Worsley said the CLA had argued for many years that a significant amount of public sector money should be provided to roll out superfast broadband to rural areas.

He said: Broadband is the key to unlocking the potential of the rural economy. With savings of some 1 billion a year expected through greater online Government services, it is critical that everyone has access to an adequate broadband service. We look forward to hearing more about the detailed allocation of funds and how these will be implemented.

On animal disease, he said: It is good news that Defra still intends to involve the industry in handling outbreaks of animal disease. In the light of yesterdays National Audit Office (NAO) report on the state of accounts, nobody should underestimate the size of the task of moving to full cost and responsibility sharing.

On the Renewable Heat Incentive, the CLA said it was “good news” that 860 million of funding for the RHI will be introduced from 2011-12.

Mr Worsley said: The proposals for a Renewable Heat Incentive are really good news for commercial and domestic producers and consumers. Heat accounts for half of UK carbon emissions, and saving carbon through renewable heat is far cheaper than through the generation of renewable electricity.

  1. For more information on how Defra has fared with the Comprehensive Spending Review please visit:
  2. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has around 35,000 members.
  3. As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.
  4. We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership, land management and rural business activities for the past 100 years. CLA members own or manage approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.

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