Defra calls for feedback on CAP proposals
Published:  14 December, 2011

Defra has called on the farming and agri-food industry in England to present its views on the proposed EU reform to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as part of an informal consultation process.

It wants farmers, environmental groups, rural communities, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties to complete an online questionnaire in order to find out the potential impact of the CAP proposals. Separate consultations will be held in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said: “We’re absolutely committed to being active participants in the negotiations to get the best possible deal for the UK, both on protecting the environment and encouraging an innovative and competitive agriculture sector. That’s why it’s crucial the people on the ground, whose lives and professions will be affected, are able to tell us their views.

“CAP covers so many areas of life that it is important we take everything into consideration and bring it to the attention of the EU during the negotiation process.”

The UK government wants significant reform of the CAP, so that farm production is not reliant on direct subsidies in the long term. It also wants farmers to be better rewarded for their contribution to protecting wildlife and the British landscape.

The Minister has pledged to make sure that English farmers who are thinking about entering or renewing agri-environment agreements could choose to opt out without penalty, if they had to make changes to their agreements as a result of CAP greening.

He said: “We’ll do everything we possibly can to make sure farmers aren’t disadvantaged because of having been ahead of the game on environmental management. We’ve already told the Commissioner about this a number of times, and it seems he’s listening to our concerns.

“We strongly believe that stewardship schemes are the best way to get better environmental protection from the CAP, but if changes do have to be made to them, at the very least farmers would be able to opt out.”

The consultation ends on 5 March 2012.

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