Natural England calls for a greener CAP
20 November 2007
Natural England has called for a new model of financial support for environmental land management to replace the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Sir Martin Doughty, Natural England’s Chair said: “Natural England wants to see a system that moves away from subsidy to farmers for meeting what would be basic operating requirements in any other industry, to payments of public money in return for environmental goods and services.
We would also like to see these environmental goods and services in perpetuity, rather than, as currently happens, renting them for a certain period of time, where benefits can be lost once schemes stop.”
Responding to the European Commission’s review of the CAP, the CAP Health Check, Natural England is advocating that funding continues to shift from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, rewarding land managers who maintain a high quality natural environment.
In the long term Natural England would like to see a reformed and expanded agri-environment programme, combined with appropriate adjustments to cross compliance, removing unnecessary bureaucracy while increasing environmental standards.
Other priorities for Natural England when responding to the Health Check will be:
- to ensure that the funding for the Rural Development Programme for England is safeguarded, especially in light of potentially environmentally damaging proposals to switch from a system that permits Voluntary Modulation (VM) to one of Compulsory Modulation, which could be set at a rate lower than the current VM rate for England.
- to ensure that effective measures are put in place to safeguard the environmental legacy of set-aside land, which was recently reduced to zero.
- to see that land managers are appropriately rewarded for the provision of environmental goods and services including biodiversity conservation, natural resource protection, and the provision of public access to the natural world.
- to recognise the role that land managers have in helping the natural environment adapt to unavoidable climate change by acting as carbon managers to lock in CO2 and maintaining carbon sinks such as peat bogs; by aiding species and habitats to move with the changing climate; and providing natural flood management systems through maintaining and creating wetlands and washlands, coastal re-alignment, river corridor widening and river restoration.