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2 December 2013 07:29:56 |

Allocate CAP to rural development, CPRE urges


The Campaign to Protect Rural England has urged the government to allocate £3.8bn of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy to rural development measures and green farming schemes.
The total UK budget for rural development measures, which currently provides public funds to help farmers keep our countryside beautiful through green farming schemes, as well as funds for food production, has been slashed by 5% in real terms until 2020.
The decision on how much of our CAP budget should be spent on green farming schemes, and how to make CAP deliver more for the environment, now rests with Ministers.
CPRE is calling for 15% of England's £15 billion CAP budget to 2020, the maximum amount permitted, to be redirected to payments for schemes that pay farmers for environmental management such as hedgerow replanting, restoring traditional farm buildings, and other rural development measures such as supporting local food producers.
Graeme Willis, Senior Rural Policy Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said, "It's unfortunate that the overall funding has been cut but transferring the full 15% of our CAP budget to pay for green farming and rural development schemes is vital if we want to maintain our precious countryside. And it makes sense for the wider rural economy; in many places tourism, which depends on our beautiful landscapes, is just as important as farming.
"The new budget already means just 40% of farmland, down from 70%, will be covered by green farming scheme options to manage wildlife habitats and landscape features that maintain the character of the countryside.
"The Government should put as much money as possible into looking after our countryside, its landscapes and wildlife. The CAP is funded by billions of pounds of public money so it is only right that it delivers public benefit."
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