11 Oct '11, 3pm
Can the common agriculture policy save England's green and pleasant land? - The Ecologist
The fate of England's grasslands hangs on reforms to the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP), which is still the single biggest influence on farming practices in the country. Since the UK adopted the CAP on entering the European Community in 1973, farmers have been incentivised to increase production, at the expense of the environment and wildlife. Subsequent CAP reforms in 1992 and 2003 have delinked subsidies from production and introduced incentives for farmers to protect and preserve the environment, albeit on a loose system of conditionalities. To date, however, the CAP's environmental stewardship schemes have, ‘largely failed,' says King. The Grasslands Trust is gearing up for the next set of CAP reforms, which start tomorrow and are finalised in 2013.