Fischlers thumbs-up for green UK

03 July 1998

Fischler’s 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.”

  • For this and other stories, see this weeks Farmers Weekly, 3-9 July, 1998

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