Agriculture has critical role in nature’s recovery

Friday 1st June 2012

Farm land cpt Zsuzsanna BirdFarm land cpt Zsuzsanna Bird

A European proposal that farms in the UK should have land reserved for wildlife is today recognised as having the ‘greatest potential to deliver significant environment benefits’ by an influential Committee of MPs.

Greening the Common Agricultural Policy’, a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA), also endorses the suggestion by The Wildlife Trusts that these Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), should be joined up to form ecological networks across the UK.

protect, encourage and extend environmentally-friendly and sustainable farming systems that are rich in wildlife

The report recommends that the European Commission should ‘consider how Member States might implement Ecological Focus Areas in such a way that would enhance environmental connectivity’ and the Government should explore how funding ‘might be integrated with the Commission’s Ecological Focus Area measures to deliver ecological networks across the country’.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“The Common Agricultural Policy budget must be effectively deployed to protect, encourage and extend environmentally-friendly and sustainable farming systems that are rich in wildlife, with the new measures recognising the critical role agriculture plays in protecting ecosystem services.

“We are pressing for an increased budget for high quality agri-environment schemes underpinned by mandatory greening measures which work for farmers and the environment.”

The European Commission has proposed that, in return for payments from the €57 billion Common Agricultural Policy, landowners should allocate seven per cent of their land as ‘Ecological Focus Areas’ for the benefit of the environment and wildlife.

The EFRA Select Committee report is available to read at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmenvfru/170/17002.htm

Tagged with: Living Landscapes