Reform CAP for conservation
ENGLISH Nature, the governments conservation policy adviser, wants CAP reform proposals to shift further towards environmental support to help cash-starved conservation schemes.
In its memorandum to the House of Commons agriculture committee on CAP reform, English Nature said the new measures, under the Agenda 2000 CAP reform proposals, still gave overwhelming support to subsidy payments.
English Nature chairman, Baroness Young, said, the countryside stewardship scheme was 50% oversubscribed, and entrance to other schemes had been closed because there was a lack of funds.
She said the CAP did not promote viable agriculture, did not help the environment and did not aid social development.
She added that a linked policy, drawing together the three objectives combined with more emphasis on the environment than subsidy payments, was needed. But the Agenda 2000 package did not yet go far enough down this route.
Sue Collins, English Nature director, said less favoured areas could have big benefits to wildlife and that consumers should view the upkeep of these areas as a valuable product.
But, she said, of the £3.7bn CAP budget only £87m was being used for environmental use. That figure should be increased in increments to £800m a year within 10 years. *