19 November 1999

Environment laws to be tightened up?

TOUGHER environmental controls for Europes farmers are foreseen in a document being sent to heads of state for their meeting in Helsinki, Finland next month.

The paper, signed off by agriculture ministers at their council meeting in Brussels this week, says there must be a basic level of "good agricultural practice" included in all the different commodity regimes.

On the basis of the "polluter pays principle", farmers should shoulder the cost of providing these environmental benefits, up to that reference level, says the report. "But beyond this, it is appropriate to pay farmers for the environmental services they have provided." &#42