Notts Wildlife Trust welcomes debate about farming subsidies sparked by National Trust statement | News | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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Notts Wildlife Trust welcomes debate about farming subsidies sparked by National Trust statement

Friday 5th August

Notts Wildlife Trust welcomes debate about farming subsidies sparked by National Trust statement

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today welcomed a statement by the National Trust calling for a major reform of farming subsidies as the UK develops a funding system to replace the Common Agricultural Policy. The National Trust has called on the government to make environmental protection central to any new funding programmes, with farmers rewarded for managing land in a wildlife friendly way.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust recognises that farmers have a hugely important role to play in caring for our landscape but agrees with the National Trust’s central premise that public monies should deliver public benefits such as improvement to wildlife habitats and the restoration of declining species.

Last month, The Wildlife Trusts signed a letter to new Prime Minister Theresa May on behalf of local Wildlife Trusts, including Nottinghamshire, calling for the protection for wildlife, waterways and other natural goods to be at the top of the list when any new payments are considered. The letter was signed by 84 food, farming and conservation organisations.

With competition for funding across all government departments likely to be fierce, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that it is good to have a healthy debate now about what form such subsidies should take to ensure that the environment is protected and the public gets value for money.

Speaking following the National Trust’s statement Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “Now that the Referendum decision has been made everyone needs to look to the future and as the government looks at how to replace the subsidies currently provided through the Common Agricultural Policy it is right to ensure that any new scheme delivers public benefits and value for money.”

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust would welcome measures that saw an increased focus on restoring our landscape and natural habitats as this would benefit everyone, including farmers.

Mr McDaid continued: “There is no escaping that farmers have a difficult job to do. Trying to produce high quality food at competitive prices whilst safeguarding the environment is not easy and that’s why we believe that subsidies should be in place to encourage the restoration of our wildlife habitats; efforts to protect natural assets such as our soils and to re-naturalise our rivers to help prevent flooding. If future funding programmes became focussed purely on production as they were in the past then we could see further degradation of our cherished countryside.”

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the county’s largest locally based environmental charity, believes that any future subsidies shouldn’t simply focus on food production and feels strongly that farmers who manage their land in a nature friendly way should continue to receive support.

Mr McDaid continued: “Public money should be used to safeguard and improve the natural environment for future generations, not simply be focussed on food production. We work closely with dozens of local farmers and landowners who care passionately about caring for wildlife and enhancing their land, but historically funding schemes have acted as a disincentive to famers wishing to manage their land in ways that benefit wildlife. It would be a devastating blow for our shared environment if the government chose to turn back the clock to a time when subsidies effectively penalised farmers who wanted to manage their land in a wildlife friendly sustainable manner.” 

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