Wednesday, 12 September 2012
SNP Agriculture and Fisheries spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP warned that the EU’s ‘greening’ proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in their current form, could have a counterproductive and damaging impact on jobs and the environment in the north of Scotland.
A recent study by NFU Scotland and Cairngorm National Park Authority examined the effects of the proposals relating to cropping, grassland and ecological focus areas. It found almost three-quarters of surveyed farmers thought the greening proposals would have an adverse environmental impact, and half felt it would have a negative effect on biodiversity.
All of the farmers reported that it would have a financial impact, with 9% believing they could be forced out of business altogether.
Dr Whiteford raised the concerns during Scottish questions today (Wednesday). Dr Whiteford said:
“While we all agree that measures are needed to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity there is real concern among Scotland’s farming communities that the EU ‘greening’ proposals of the common agricultural policy could be counter-productive.
“Farmers are not just worried about its impact on their businesses, but the vast majority believe it will also be detrimental to biodiversity in the Scottish Highlands. Three quarters think it will actually be damaging to the environment, and half that biodiversity will be reduced.
“The unique physical, environmental and economic challenges for farming in the Scottish Highlands are ill-fit to implement the currently proposed ‘greening’ measures. A rethink is required and the concerns of the NFU must be raised as a matter of urgency by the UK Government. Viable alternative proposals must be developed to protect both jobs and the environment.
“The Scottish Government is working hard to represent the concerns of rural communities about the reforms to the common agricultural policy, but with independence we would have a place at the top table when these negotiations are underway.
“The UK government cannot be trusted to be a strong voice for Scotland in Europe. An independent Scottish Government , 100% elected by the people of Scotland, would be better placed to represent all of Scotland’s communities at the top table in Europe.”
More information on the NFU Scotland study is available here: NFU Study on EU Greening