Uplands vision ignores economics, says rural pressure group
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) today (Thursday, 12 November) said Natural England's newly launched Uplands Vision was welcome but missed the key point – economics.
The report, Vital Uplands: A 2060 Vision for England's Upland Environment, was published today.
CLA West Midlands director Caroline Bedell said: "We are pleased Natural England has produced this report as it will open up debate. However, the future of upland land management is hanging by a thread. Miserable market returns for products such as milk, beef, sheep and wool mean that upland farms are surviving purely on public payments and yet their average farm business income is only £10,400.
"Natural England rightly aims to make upland management sustainable but the key factor they are missing is the economics of such areas. Without upland management, the food, fibre, clean water as well as sporting and recreation interests that are enjoyed by everyone would not exist. For management you need people and people need an income.
"Natural England needs to acknowledge market failure is the core issue affecting upland areas before any sort of vision can be realised."
The regional rural watchdog leader added: "Unless there are public payments for the services that the uplands provide or other private funding this Vision will simply collapse.
"The CLA will continue to work with Natural England and industry partners on how to ensure the Vision addresses the market failures of upland areas."
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Caroline Bedell MRICS FAAV
Caroline leads the Midlands team and has overall responsibility for the management of the CLA’s regional business and membership.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor respected throughout the industry, she also represents the CLA on a wide range of regional committees and panels.
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