Crunch Time for CAP – choosing the right the tools for a richer countryside

9th November 2011

The UK continues to face environmental challenges including those driven by CAP incentives and emerging demands on land. Across Europe, soils are depleted and degraded, water is over-extracted and polluted and wildlife struggles to survive across landscapes that have lost many of the features that provide character and distinctiveness. The vision of the joint Links of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is for the CAP to evolve into an integrated agricultural and environmental policy.  To meet the environmental challenges we face, the CAP must be equipped with tools that will help restore and enhance the natural and historic environment, creating ecological networks at a landscape-scale to achieve multiple benefits over wide areas of countryside. Future CAP payments should be explicitly linked to positive actions that deliver more sustainable land management. Currently, the majority of CAP funds are paid in the form of decoupled payments attached to little more than basic legal compliance. As the next CAP will continue to feature two separate sources of funding (Pillar I and Pillar II), positive action must be secured and integrated across both Pillars and through all payments.

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