CLA comment: Defra's Consultation on Catchment Sensitive FarmingAt the close of Defra's consultation on how it proposes to tackle agricultural diffuse pollution, Mark Hudson, President of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) comments: 'We are pleased that the consultation includes a 'supportive approach' offering information and skills, grants and support for voluntary action to help land mangers reduce diffuse pollution in a practical and cost effective manner. But is the Government really committed to this approach when the implied preference running through the paper is for the use of conventional mechanisms like regulation and levies?
'We will be holding the Government tightly to their aim 'to take forward measures that will reduce agricultural diffuse pollution without adding unnecessary regulatory burdens'. Over-regulation stifles land managers' ability to run a viable business and this in turn reduces the potential environmental and social benefits of farming, such as landscape, biodiversity and recreation.
'Land managers cannot be seen as entirely to blame for causing the majority of diffuse pollution - much has been due to farmers' attempt to meet the nation's past need for food which was a direct response to the Government's own agricultural policies and grant systems since 1947. Government now has the opportunity to work with land managers to reduce the problem of diffuse pollution but they will need to provide substantial funding if it is to be tackled properly.'
7 September 2004
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