05 March 1998
Government projects boost upland jobs
THE government outlined two pilot projects designed to boost jobs and the
environment in deprived upland areas of England yesterday.
The projects are due to start in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall and Bowland, Lancashire early next year. They will test how best to combine countryside protection with rural economy-boosting measures.
Local groups will be encourage to apply a “one-stop shop” run by the
agriculture ministry for a variety of grants which would pay for replacing
landscape features such as stone walls and hedgerows, processing and marketing food produced in an environmentally-friendly way, learning business skills and establishing tourism projects based on environmental attractions.
The grants will come from existing budgets within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and the Objective 5b programme which the European Union funds for rural development.
The National Farmers Union called for clarification but said it would endorse any steps that would maintain rural businesses.
The plans come a fortnight before the European Commission is due to publish Common Agricultural Policy reform proposals. These include cuts in beef, cereal and dairy prices and a greater emphases on rural development.
- Financial Times 05/03/98 page 9