CLA calls for fast government action to find market solutions to pay for natural environment

The CLA has urged the Government to move quickly to find new ways to pay for looking after the natural environment.

The Association said it is essential to enable more conservation work within the natural environment, and that the work should be funded by private money, following the launch of a report by theEcosystem Market Task Force (EMTF) published yesterday (5 March).

CLA Deputy President Henry Robinson said: "The CLA is completely committed to finding market solutions to pay for conserving the natural environment.  We must move away from relying on public money to pay for everything.  

"We fully support the EMTF ideas for private sector solutions to encourage the development of markets such as biodiversity offsetting and greater use of wood fuel which would add value and help pay for the natural environment."

Mr Robinson said the main challenge was to remove the obstacles that hinder the creation of these markets.

 He said: "A huge barrier to the more widespread use of small-scale anaerobic digestion to turn waste into energy is the planning and permitting rules. One way to meet the costs of flood prevention would be to ensure those who benefit from such measures contribute towards the cost."

The CLA Deputy President added he was pleased the report noted the limitations of using the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to fund environmental works.

He said: "As current discussions in Brussels are making clear, the CAP budget is highly unlikely to remain the same size over the long term.

"Rules underpinning the CAP only allow payments for environmental works to be made on potentially lost income. So if the land manager only gets the money he would have received from continuing his existing activities, why should he do anything different? Clearly, this needs to be looked at more thoroughly."