CLA’s qualified welcome for environmental payment proposals
Tavernor: “Welcome report but misses the point on Nature Improvement Areas”
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The CLA says that today’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra)Committee’s Report on the Natural Environment White Paper - which
sets out the Government’s vision on how to stop the decline of biodiversity and enhance landscapes - has provided long-overdue recognition of the need to pay land managers for the provision of habitat and biodiversity.
CLA Midlands Rural Adviser Donna Tavernor said: “CLA members invest considerable amounts of time and money managing the landscape and maintaining important wildlife habitats. Clearly, this work comes at a cost, and if the public wants ever-greater delivery of such things as wildlife, landscape and clean water, the work must be properly financed.
“Ecosystems services are worth billions of pounds to the UK economy. For example pollinators, which are essential for oil seed rape and orchard pollination, provide nearly £0.5Billion. Recreational visits to the countryside add some £10Billion a year in benefits.
“Now it seems that Efra has finally accepted that society benefitsfrom ecosystem servicesand that land managers should be properly rewarded for providing these environmental goods.”
The Association says that it is also good to see the Committeeputting forward positive ideas for how payments for Ecosystem Services could be brought forward in the short to medium term. The proposals are now due to be discussed by the Ecosystem Markets Task Force and the CLA is calling on the Task Force to establish a rural sounding board to help deliver the proposals.
But the Association warns that the recently introduced
Nature Improvement Areas must not be allowed to become another barrier to sustainable development.
Miss Tavernor concluded: “The bad news is that the EFRA committee appears to believe that the new Nature Improvement Areas are
designated areas. This is not the case and Natural Environment minister Richard Benyon has already confirmed this point.
“There must be no additional planning constraints within NIAs and the work relating to Local Nature Partnerships other than those that already exist. If the Efra Committee is uncertain about this definition, what chance will we have convincing Local Planning Authorities of the facts? There needs to be certainty and clarity on this point.”
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