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CLA launches High Hopes report to show the way up for the Uplands

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The CLA today (Monday, 20 December) launches a key policy document on the Uplands.

High Hopes CLA report on the Uplands is a follow-up to the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) report of July 2010, expanding on its themes and recommendations and extending them to the Uplands in Wales as well as in England.

CLA President William Worsley said: The Uplands are immensely important to society in England and Wales because their active management – by farmers, foresters and the shooting industry – provides the vital goods and services of food, wood products, energy, cultural landscape, natural resource protection and biodiversity, as well as a wonderful array of leisure and tourism opportunities.

“However, many of the businesses involved in the Uplands are under threat because of low or negative financial margins in one of their core activities grazing livestock production. These businesses survive only because of public payments, and the payments are now in jeopardy. 

The ability of upland land management to provide a reasonable living standard is critical to the future of the Uplands. This goal will not be reached by dependence on selling agricultural products alone; rural economic diversification and provision of a range of environmental services such as water and climate protection and providing biodiversity and cultural landscape will become increasingly important.

The report makes more than 35 recommendations for sustaining the Uplands including changes in institutions, the contribution of the CAP, attracting new sources of finance, improving the productivity and profitability of hill farming, providing renewable energy, more afforestation, improving rural services and telecommunications, and, critically, introducing changes in planning, affordable housing provision, and cultural heritage.

The CLA President added: To unlock the potential of our uplands and to ensure delivery of this suite of measures requires real buy-in from Government and some leadership from upland society itself.

“There are a lot of good ideas around to do this, and the report of the Efra committee review and Defras internal uplands project provide the opportunity to make rapid progress on this agenda.

  • Download a copy of High Hopes CLA report on the Uplands from: http://www.cla.org.uk/Policy_Work/CLA_Uplands_Report/

  • The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has around 35,000 members.

  • 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.

  • 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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