7 April 2000

Fury at green payment cuts

FARMERS receiving agri-environment payments on the South Downs have been hit by a double whammy. Because farm incomes and profits have fallen, MAFF has cut payments calculated on the level of profits foregone.

The move has provoked fury amongst farmers and conservationists alike because the ESA has so successfully boosted wildlife populations in the area.

Payments have been cut from £90/ha (£36/acre) to £53/ha (£21/acre) for land used to grow winter stubbles without undersowing.