CAP reforms: a missed opportunity for farming and wildlife in Devon
Devon Wildlife Trust believes the Common Agricultural Policy reforms announced today (Wednesday, October 12) are a missed opportunity to help secure a brighter future for the county’s rich environment.
The charity, which has 33,000 members and manages 45 nature reserves, has concerns that the EU farming reforms will reduce funding for vital agri-environment schemes. These reductions will have direct impacts on the future health of our countryside and also the farming community, with whom the Devon Wildlife Trust works in partnerships across the county.
The Devon Wildlife Trust believes that landowners are inadequately rewarded for the critical role they play in producing food and maintaining a healthy wildlife-rich environment. This includes providing clean water supplies, clean air and productive soils.
Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust’s new chief executive said: “This is the best opportunity in a decade to make CAP work better for farmers and wildlife. Pressures on our natural environment are growing ever greater as land is built upon and demand for cheap food grows. These reforms do not go anywhere near far enough.
‘Politicians in the UK and Europe need to have the courage and conviction to bring forward a package of measures that will have a real, meaningful and long-lasting impact for the natural environment on which will all depend.
“Through our Working Wetlands project in the north of the county our farming and wildlife advisors have carried out more than 1,000 farm visits and helped secure over 2,300 hectares of wildlife rich grasslands in optimum condition. From this experience we know the crucial role agri-environmental schemes play in both sustaining farmers’ way of life, as well as our life support systems.
“But the proposed reforms threaten the protection that these grasslands have been given, and risk undoing years of hard won gains for rare wildlife. ”
The charity will campaign along with the other Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK over the coming months to feed in to the consultation process which is due to end next year.
(from a press release)