News preview 2010: Industry leaders look ahead

Graham Wynne

Chief executive


2010 is a crucial year for the Common Agricultural Policy. Against a backdrop of financial pressure to scrap the CAP, it is urgent that we work together to make the case for resources to pay farmers for the vital work they do for wildlife.

The RSPB will be lobbying hard to ensure the CAP reform proposals that come forward in 2010 reflect this need. Demonstrating the success of agri-environment schemes and Campaign for the Farmed Environment will be essential in making the case for continued CAP funding.

Half the farmers in the Entry Level Scheme will renew their agreements this year and, if they choose the right mix of options, as promoted through the campaign, this should kick-start a reversal in the fortunes of farmland birds.

This is why we will be doing everything we can to help farmers put together bird-friendly agri-environment packages for their farms.

Rob Clayton 
Rob Clayton

Rob Clayton

Potato Council

The Water Framework Directive will have increasing impact in 2010 as more of the supply chain starts to recognise the significance of pesticide directives.

Stewardship will become more and more important to protect our remaining chemistry as this legislation starts to filter down into individual businesses.

Land rental is going to get a lot more complicated as owners try to manoeuvre around GAEC and NVZs. Growers will need to be careful when taking on land with these designations and double-check the work land agents are doing – we have already come across a few niggles over nitrogen limits.

Water is going to continue to creep up the agenda as it becomes a much more precious resource. It will become a much more important policy issue over the next few years.

Current low prices mean the potato area is likely to shrink next year. Research shows there is a very clear correlation between price one year and planted area the next.

James Miles-Hobbs 
James Miles-Hobbs

James Miles-Hobbs

James Miles-Hobbs Rural Development Associates

In renewable energy, an important thing in 2010 will be the increase in forward energy prices. This is making high energy users moan, but will bring a smile to the faces of those planning to produce and sell renewable heat and power.

The introduction of the feed-in tariff from 1 April will also be important. It may take until the end of the year to “bed down” but wind and photovoltaics look favourable under the tariff. Biomass and anaerobic digestion may stick with renewable obligation certificates.

We could see permitted development orders for renewable energy projects similar to those for agricultural buildings. However, government legislation, particularly with an election looming, could take a long time to come in.

Finally, the government will consult on the renewable heat initiative over the next 12 months. It won’t come in until 1 April 2011, but the consultation should make opportunities for farmers clearer.

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