Fischlers thumbs-up for green UK
THE UK can be justifiably proud of its commitment to agri-environment schemes, while the majority of other member states are putting up huge resistance, according to EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler.
But, speaking at a Natura 2000 conference in Bath, Mr Fischler warned that agri-environment would have top priority under the EU commissions Agenda 2000 CAP reform package.
|Mr Fischler later visited Jonathan Comers Totney Farm, Blackford, Somerset, which lies within an environmentally sensitive area, to launch a new brochure explaining the Agenda 2000 reform proposals and the increasing role that environmental protection plays in European agriculture.|
|Franz Fischler (right) visits Somerset grower Jonathan Comer (left)|
He stressed that although farming and the environment had a symbiotic relationship, modern technology and related profit considerations meant the environment had suffered. Since the 1992 CAP reforms, which combined environmental policies with agriculture, the results had been positive with a 15% drop in the use of plant protection products, a 25% drop in nitrogen fertiliser application, and a reduction of a third in the amount of phosphorus applied to land.
“But we have a lot more to do,” he said. “And farmers must be compensated for their loss of earnings by taking on these schemes. All farmers should now be aiming to set a minimum environment standard on their farms and they must be paid for their efforts.”