European Union proposals to tie farmers’ payments to environmental targets threaten to cut food output and countries should be able to let farmers tailor land management to local circumstances, a U.K. committee said.
The EU has called for 30 percent of direct payments to be tied to farmers’ compliance with environmental targets as part of the reform of the bloc’s Common Agriculture Policy. Under the proposed rules, farmers would have to reserve at least 7 percent of their land for ecological measures such as trees and fallow land. Farmers should be able to tailor their land management practices to local circumstances, Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said today in a statement.
EU plans “will reduce food security by taking land out of production and are likely to impact badly on our environment,” Anne McIntosh, who chairs the Parliament committee, said in the statement on the government’s website. “It’s a nonsense to think that farmers from Finland to Sicily should be tied to the same narrow prescriptive rules.”
Hedges, ditches and field margins may be included in areas farmers will be asked to reserve, so the measures “should have no impact or in some cases a limited impact on production,” Roger Waite, a spokesman for the European Commission, said in an e-mailed statement. Some existing environmental plans already in place in some member countries may allow farmers to fully or partially apply to “greening” requirements, he said.
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