CLA stresses need to fund conservation
East Anglian landowners' champion, the CLA, has welcomed the acknowledgement in the Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee's Report on the Natural Environment White Paper that land managers who provide habitats and biodiversity should be properly rewarded.
CLA East regional director Nicola Currie said: "We are pleased the Efra Committee accepts that society benefits from ecosystem services, such as clean water and wildlife, and recognises that providers, such as land owners and managers, should be paid for this work.
"It is also good to see the Committee put forward positive ideas for how Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) initiatives and offsetting could be launched in the short to medium term and that these ideas are to be discussed by the Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF). It is vital the EMTF ensures such ideas can be practically delivered, and we would like to see the Task Force establish a rural sounding board to help this happen."
She said: "Clearly, environmental work comes at a cost to land owners and managers, and if the public wants ever-greater delivery of wildlife, landscape and clean water, the work must be properly financed.
"Many CLA members spend significant sums managing the landscape and maintaining important wildlife habitats. For this to go on, it must be economically viable."
However, the CLA stressed that Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) must not be allowed to become another barrier to sustainable development.
The CLA's regional director for the East of England expressed concern that the Committee considers NIAs to be "designated areas", which is not the case as Natural Environment minister Richard Benyon has confirmed.
Mrs Currie said: "If the Efra Committee is uncertain on this point, what chance have we with Local Planning Authorities?
"The key point is there must be no additional planning constraints within NIAs and the work relating to Local Nature Partnerships other than those that already exist."
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Nicola has a Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Farm Management from the Royal Agricultural College (RAC) and seven years experience as a Tenant Farmer, building up a pedigree dairy herd from scratch. She has also spent time in professional practice in Estate and Farm Management. This background has provided Nicola with a useful grounding to work for the interests of the CLA East regionís farming and rural businesses.
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