14 June 2002

Basic plus bonus for new scheme

ENVIRONMENTAL schemes should pay on a performance related basis, with basic rate payments topped up with bonuses for producers achieving pre-determined levels of environmental improvement.

Martin Hole believes that while all producers should be able to receive payments for minimal compliance with scheme rules, those going beyond basic requirements should receive further payments.

"In four years we have gone from having no pairs of breeding Lapwings on the farm to more than 30 pairs, this has been achieved through significant management changes. However, we receive no more money whether we have five pairs of Lapwings or 50."

While Mr Hole admits that quantifying environmental matters can be difficult, he does believe that the current system is discriminatory against producers who work to achieve gains above and beyond the norm. &#42