Put farming for nature at the top of the agenda.
Restoring a healthy natural environment, with pollinating insects, clean water and good soils, is crucial for food production now and in the future. That’s why, ahead of one of the most significant votes ever held in the European Parliament, The Wildlife Trusts are urging everyone to press their MEPs to support real reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
For the first time the 73 MEPs of the UK have the opportunity to vote on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), expected on Wednesday 13 March 2013.
Ahead of the vote non-Government organisations, including The Wildlife Trusts, are today launching a public campaign enabling people to lobby their Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure the CAP is reformed, and nature-friendly farming is given the recognition and support it urgently needs.
Farmers and landowners are in the front line of halting and reversing the decline of many of our native plants and animals and the places in which they live. The CAP drives land management decisions and practices across Europe and therefore the health and richness of our natural environment. It represents around 40% of current EU spending, including more than £3billion annual expenditure in the UK.
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“If there’s one single thing that has shaped the UK’s countryside over the last 50 years, not always for the better, it’s the Common Agricultural
Policy. We believe it must be radically reformed to protect and restore the ecosystems on which people and wildlife depend. Making sure payments from CAP support environmental measures, such as creating flower-rich field margins for insects and farmland birds, will help restore nature across the UK. It is vital that MEPs hear the voice of their constituents and make the CAP count for a Living Landscape.”
Some high quality agri-environment schemes, such as England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, have shown what can be done to protect and restore nature in our agricultural landscapes – from hedgerows and wildflower meadows to wetlands and other wild places. But their coverage has been limited. The new CAP must ensure that all farmers and land managers are able to play their part in farming for nature.
From Thursday 28 February, please lobby your MEP to ensure the CAP is reformed and nature-friendly farming is put back on the agenda.
The Wildlife Trusts are asking Members of the European Parliament to vote to:
1. Ensure all farmers and land managers undertake ‘greening’ measures that will help protect and restore nature in return for direct payments from the CAP
2. Reject double subsidies where a landowner or manager would be paid twice for the same activity to ensure that public money is not wasted
3. Reintroduce requirements for farmers and land managers to comply with EU environmental regulation, such as the Water Framework Directive which ensures our rivers are clean and healthy
4. Provide dedicated support for nature-friendly farmers and land managers