CLA stresses need to fund conservation in response to Efra Report on Natural Environment White Paper

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "We are pleased the Efra Committee accepts thatsociety 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."

He 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 vast sums managing the landscape and maintaining important wildlife habitats. For this to go on, it must be economically viable."

 However,the Association stressed that Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) must not be allowed to become another barrier to sustainable development.

 The CLA President expressed concern that the Committee considers NIAs to be "designated areas", which is not the case as Natural Environment minister Richard Benyon has confirmed. 

 Mr Cotterell 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."

Read Efra's inquiry into the Natural Environment White Paper.