Ahead of critical decisions on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) this autumn, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has met with Alyn Smith MEP, Member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to present its views on proposed measures to “green” the CAP.
CAP represents the largest single-spend in the EU and has a budget of over £435 billion (more than 40% of the entire EU budget). The Scottish Wildlife Trust supports the “greening” of direct farm payments because it would deliver environmental benefits across the whole of Scotland’s agricultural landscape which would be good for wildlife and people to. It would also be a better use of taxpayers’ money as it would deliver multiple benefits on top of food production such as improved water quality and flood prevention.
Bruce Wilson, Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscapes Policy Officer said: “In the past CAP has failed to deliver for the environment and many farmland species such as the sky lark and the pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly have shown a marked decline in numbers. Some intensive farming practices can also have unintended consequences such as polluting rivers and contributing to climate change. The greening of direct payments will allow farmers to deliver multiple benefits above and beyond food production and would provide better value for taxpayer’s money.”
Alyn Smith MEP said:“I really valued my meeting with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and it was useful to hear their views on the commissions greening proposals. The Trust clearly want to see a CAP that can help to raise the environmental baseline across the whole of Scotland. We had a few differences in opinion but also found a lot of common ground and agreed that CAP should definitely do more for wildlife and people.”