CAP reform will not help nature’s recovery

Wednesday 12th October 2011

Reed bunting cpt Amy LewisReed bunting cpt Amy Lewis

The Wildlife Trusts are 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 Trusts were 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 Agricutural Policy will fail to properly reward farmers for taking measures to protect and restore the natural environment.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, 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 Trusts will 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.

Notes for editors:

The Wildlife Trusts

As agriculture accounts for more than 75% of land use in the UK its future is critical to The Wildlife Trusts’ ambition to deliver A Living Landscape. The Wildlife Trusts manage more than 90,000 hectares of land in the UK and provide around 5,000 days of land management advice to others every year.

Common Agricultural Policy

Water Framework Directive