Andrew Midgley attended a CAP reform debate in London this week and reports that there is significant agreement on many of the key CAP proposals. Several of the industry representatives highlighted their support for greening in principle, but also their concern that the current greening proposals on the table would actually place greater restriction on farmers whilst delivering little environmentally. The permanent grassland and crop diversification measures came in for particular criticism, whilst there were a range of views on the appropriateness and impact of the proposed 7% Ecological Focus Area proposal. Several speakers called for greater flexibility to help make greening measures more appropriate. There was also concern about the proposed definition of an active farmer and capping.
As might be expected, however, there were also key areas of disagreement, especially around some of the proposed eligibility rules such as the 2011 ‘trigger’ to allow eligibility in 2014.
There were several Scottish organisations represented and David Barnes, Deputy Director in Scottish Government, drove home his key message that Scotland needs different things to England out of this reform and that it is important to ensure that the Devolved Administrations are integrally involved in the negotiations going forward.