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Land managers should get paid for stewardship
THE Environmental Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on the Natural Environment White Paper has been welcomed by CLA rural adviser Donna Tavernor.
It sets out the Government’s vision on how to stop the decline of biodiversity and enhance landscapes, and has provided long-overdue recognition of the need to pay land managers for the provision of habitat and biodiversity, according to the Country Land and Business Association.
CLA Midlands rural adviser Donna Tavernor said: “CLA members invest considerable amounts of time and money managing the landscape and maintaining important wildlife habitats. Clearly, this work comes at a cost and if the public wants even greater delivery of such things as wildlife, landscape and clean water, the work musty be properly financed.
“Ecosystems services are worth billions of pounds to the UK economy. For example pollinators, which are essential to oilseed rape and orchard pollination, provide nearly £0.5 billion.
Recreational visits to the countryside add some £10 billion a year in benefits.”
Now, she said, it seemed that Efra had finally accepted that society benefited from ecosystem services and that land managers should be properly rewarded for providing the environmental goods.
The association said it was also good to see the committee putting forward positive ideas for how payments for ecosystem services could be brought forward in the short to medium term, but warned that the recently introduced Nature Improvement Areas must not be allowed to become another barrier to sustainable development.
Miss Tavernor said: “The bad news is that the Efra committee appears to believe that the new NIAs are designated areas. This is not not the case and Natural Environment minister Richard Benyon has already confirmed this point.
“There must be no additional planning constraints within the NIAs and the work relating to Local Nature Partnerships other than that already exist. If the Efra committee is uncertain about this definition, what chance will we have convincing local planning authorities of the facts? There needs to be certainty and clarity on this point.”