Morley sets out green benchmarks
By FWi staff
SONGBIRD populations, agricultural workers earnings, areas converted to organic farming, and greenhouse gas emissions are among indicators the government is to use to gauge the sustainability of farming.
Launching a set of pilot indicators, junior agriculture minister Elliot Morley said they will measure the economic, social, and environmental impacts of agriculture, effects of government policy and assess overall sustainability.
Farmers have also been invited to take part in a large-scale practice survey designed to provide a snapshot of farming practises at the start of the new millennium.
More than 1000 farmers have been sent forms to register management systems employed and the pattern of cultivation on their holdings.
This will back up indicators and be regularly reviewed.
Launching the initiative at a Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) farm in Lincolnshire, Mr Morley said: “Combining information from the different indicators makes it possible to get an overall picture of the progress we are making towards sustainable agriculture.
“Agriculture plays a crucial role in almost every part of UK life and these indicators will also meet a growing demand form people up and down the UK for information relating to the environmental effects of agricultural policy.”
Towards Sustainable Agriculture complements the recent department of environment, transport and the regions document Quality of Life Counts: a Baseline Assessment.
This set out 150 indicators of sustainable development in the UK.
- Towards Sustainable Agriculture is available free from MAFF – see MAFF publications
- Quality of Life Counts: A Baseline Assessment from the DETR