CAP reform is essential for farming and wildlife

  |  Published: Mar 1st 2013

CAP reform is essential for farming and wildlife

 

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, along with other non-government organisations, is calling for a reformed Common Agricultural Policy that fosters a healthy natural environment for farming and wildlife. For the first time, the 73 MEPs of the UK will have the opportunity to vote on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), expected to be held on Wednesday 13 March.

 

If people care about the way that public money is used to support farming and wildlife, they should write to their MEP now via http://uk.farmingfornature.eu/ to show they want the CAP to improve the countryside with field margins of cornfield flowers for pollinating insects and hedgerows full of farmland birds.

 

Giles Strother, spokesman for Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, said: “Farming and wildlife are inextricably linked - a healthy natural environment, with pollinating insects, clean water and good soils, is crucial for food production now and in the future. The Common Agricultural Policy represents around 40% of current EU spending, including more than £3billion annual expenditure in the UK. It is the single largest factor affecting how the relationship between farming and wildlife works, and it can be vastly improved so that it helps to protect and restore wildlife habitats.”

 

The Wildlife Trusts are asking Members of the European Parliament to vote to:

1.            Ensure all farmers and land managers undertake ‘greening’ measures that will help protect and restore nature in return for direct payments from the CAP.

2.            Reject double subsidies where a landowner or manager would be paid twice for the same activity to ensure that public money is not wasted.

3.            Reintroduce requirements for farmers and land managers to comply with EU environmental regulation, such as the Water Framework Directive which ensures our rivers are clean and healthy.

4.            Provide dedicated support for nature-friendly farmers and land managers.

 

High quality agri-environment schemes, such as England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, already show what can be achieved by protecting and restoring nature in farmland. But if these schemes are going to be truly effective on a landscape-scale, more money is needed to allow farmers to sign up to create healthy natural ecosystems by farming for nature.

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