24 June 2014,
Comments Comments Off on CAP reform not enough to protect wildlife
The EU have been working on reforms to its Common Agricultural Policy but a recent study has condemned the efforts to protect wildlife on farms. The report in the journal ‘Science’ estimates that the new policies mean 88% of farms will be exempt from the key green measures. The report argues that the reform could make the environment worse rather than better unless individual member states take action themselves.
The ‘greening’ plan will reward farmers for 3 activities – maintaining grassland, creating Ecological Focus Areas, and growing at least 3 crops on farms over 30 hectares. The report says the rules that will govern these activities are vague and unhelpful. There is also no set guidance over the Ecological Focus Areas and the reform even allows a 5% reduction in grassland which is Europe’s most endangered habitat.
Individual countries still have the chance to use CAP to help their agricultural environments. They have the freedom to maintain or increase the budget for agri-environment schemes and design measures that make it profitable to farm in a way that protects ecosystems.
A Rocha UK comments: These are tough times indeed, and rather than the UK leading the way there is every indication that the UK government is keen to water down existing legislation with huge potential impacts on our rarest species and habitats.