Government launches agricultural consultation

Government launches agricultural consultation
    The government has launched a flagship consultation on how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could shape the UK.

Under EU rules, the CAP framework must be adhered to, but some of the rules and regulations put in place have irked farmers and isolated communities alike because of what is seen as an excess of red tape.

Farming minister George Eustice wants to change this and said the UK has secured a new agreement with Brussels to ensure people have their say on how the policy is altered in the future.

Mr Eustice added: "This gives us the flexibility to target funding in ways that will deliver real benefits to the environment, boost the competitiveness of our farming industry and grow the rural economy.

"It's vital that the new system is designed with the input of the people whose lives it will affect. That’s why it’s so important that people give us their views on how we can best achieve this."

Survey respondents will be asked how the rural economy can be grown and its main aim will be to see how effective business grants specifically targeting tourism in countryside areas are.

The role of pollinators will also be examined and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is set to launch a separate investigation on how bees and other insects can be protected from colony collapse syndrome.

Martin Harper is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' conservation director and called for people to tell Defra that they need to boost investment in bird protection.

House Sparrow rates have continued to collapse around the UK and this has been of concern to natural scientists, who are worried about the effects this could have on the nation's wider ecosystem.

Mr Harper said Defra has a real chance to help rural communities build up their resistance to the threat of climate change over the coming years, which in turn will help bird numbers increase.

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