New income streams vital for future of the Uplands, says CLA
The CLA has said Natural England's decision to abandon its vision for the Uplands makes it vital for the Government to encourage new income streams for conserving the environment.
The Association said the Government must put in place a viable strategy, based on the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) Uplands report, to foster and maintain a thriving rural economy.
CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "We did not wholly agree with Natural England's vision for the Uplands when it was launched in 2009 because it did not acknowledge the need to pay farmers, foresters and land managers for the wildlife, habitats and landscapes they provide for the public. Uplands businesses operate on very tight margins and are not economically viable without public funds. But it is essential they remain to ensure the land is properly managed.
"Natural England should now look for ways to provide new income streams for the Uplands. The Government must introduce policies that focus on what these areas can provide in terms of environmental benefits."
Mr Cotterell said that Defra's Ecosystem Market's Task Force and the Natural Capital Committee, set up to look at ways to pay farmers and land managers properly for what they provide, must have sufficient input from rural businesses.
He said: "The Uplands are sparsely populated areas, with limited opportunities for employment. We need to move away from characterising these areas by activities for which they are at a commercial disadvantage, and instead focus on what they are good at."
Read the CLA's own report on the future of the Uplands: High Hopes
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[2 June 2011]
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