Natural England has called for a new model of financial support
for environmental land management to replace the current Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Sir Martin Doughty, Natural England’s Chair said: “Natural
England wants to see a system that moves away from subsidy
to farmers for meeting what would be basic operating requirements
in any other industry, to payments of public money in return
for environmental goods and services.
“We would also like to see these environmental goods
and services in perpetuity, rather than, as currently happens,
renting them for a certain period of time, where benefits
can be lost once schemes stop.”
Responding to the European Commission’s review of
the CAP, the CAP Health Check, Natural England is advocating
that funding continues to shift from Pillar 1 to Pillar
2, rewarding land managers who maintain a high quality
In the long term Natural England would like to see a reformed
and expanded agri-environment programme, combined with
appropriate adjustments to cross compliance, removing unnecessary
bureaucracy while increasing environmental standards.
Other priorities for Natural England when responding to
the Health Check will be:
- to ensure that the funding for the Rural Development
Programme for England is safeguarded, especially in light
of potentially environmentally damaging proposals to
switch from a system that permits Voluntary Modulation
(VM) to one of Compulsory Modulation, which could be
set at a rate lower than the current VM rate for England.
ensure that effective measures are put in place to safeguard
the environmental legacy of set-aside land, which was
recently reduced to zero.
- to see that land managers are
appropriately rewarded for the provision of environmental
goods and services including biodiversity conservation,
natural resource protection, and the provision of public
access to the natural world.
- to recognise the role that
land managers have in helping the natural environment
adapt to unavoidable climate change by acting as carbon
managers to lock in CO2 and maintaining carbon sinks
such as peat bogs; by aiding species and habitats to
move with the changing climate; and providing natural
flood management systems through maintaining and creating
wetlands and washlands, coastal re-alignment, river corridor
widening and river restoration.
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