Country Land and Business Association Wales Director Julian
Salmon says the key question facing Governments and land managers
in rapidly changing times is to establish who is going to pay
to achieve a balance between food security and the maintenance
of a beautiful environment.
Commenting on top level discussions at the CLA Centenary Conference,
Exploring the Future of Land Management, Mr Salmon called on the
Welsh Assembly Government to take a lead in focussing attention
on the central problem facing the Welsh countryside.
The conference at London’s QE 11 Centre was held to celebrate
the CLA’s Centenary but also to assess what lies ahead for
land management over the next quarter of a century. Chaired by
John Humphrys, environment secretary David Miliband was among a
number of high profile speakers.
CLA chief economist Professor Allan Buckwell took the opportunity
to call upon the Government to re-think plans to reduce key European
funding for agriculture. He said a European wide policy to provide
food and environmental security was needed and the last thing the
Government should be calling for was a reduction in the budget
necessary to deliver it.
“The challenges faced by the food and environmental sectors
will increase in the future, not decline, so there is no case for
reducing Budget Heading 2, currently dominated by the Common Agricultural
Policy, and a very serious case to expand it, especially so as
the EU territory and population expands.
“It is necessary to say this because we sense that there
is a British-led campaign currently underway to reduce the EU budget
overall and certainly to reduce the expenditure in Budget Heading
Julian Salmon added: “The big question which no-one seems
prepared to answer is how we are going to pay for the requirement
for the beautifully managed environment we almost take for granted.
“We can’t have endless supplies of cheap food at least
cost of production and expect to provide and maintain an attractive
environment. Our challenge to the EU is to think long term as to
how this can be achieved on a European level.
“Wales was imaginative in introducing the first whole farm
environmental scheme, Tir Cymen over a decade ago. Times have moved
on and pressures of climate change and food security will require
a much more flexible and imaginative approach”.
Speakers at the conference included Her Royal Highness, The Princess
Royal, environment secretary, David Miliband, journalist and commentator
Simon Jenkins and shadow environment secretary, Peter Ainsworth.
Environment Secretary, David Miliband, said that it would be
necessary to seek a compromise between environmental use and economic
use to achieve better land management in the future. Land use challenges
faced by the UK would be based on a set of 'new relationships';
with farmers, for subsidies in return for environmental goods;
with developers, access to land in return for ensuring development
are low carbon; and with citizens, extended rights of access in
return for greater environmental responsibility.
A full transcript of Professor Buckwell’s speech is available
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