22 July 1997
CAP reforms offer no favours to green lobby
Spending on green farming is being cut back rather than expanded in
the intended reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Changes to CAP will be discussed for the first time tonight by EU farm ministers after their council meeting in Brussels.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says the reforms do
little more than extend the agri-environment schemes introduced in the 1992 MacSharry reforms. Environmentalists argue that green farming schemes account for little more than 3% of the total CAP budget which is Ecu41bn ($45bn) a year.
Measures include payments to organic farmers, grants for non-intensive livestock grazing, and funds for improving landscape and wildlife features such as hedges and waterways.
Increases in the amount of the CAP budget currently consumed for
arable land payments will inevitably squeeze funds for the protection
and management of the environment, critics say. The Country Landowners
Association said it was disappointed that environmental spending was
going to be squeezed.