There is a danger the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could become less green without UK influence, leading academics have warned.
The trio of researchers, Dr Ludivine Petetin, Dr Viviane Gravey and Dr Brendan Moore, went on to say the decision to give member states greater flexibility to design policy suited to local needs may lead to a ‘reduction in environmental ambition’.
They also suggested the latest CAP reform round had seen the adoption of ‘vague objectives’ and ‘generic indicators’ which are easy to shirk, and criticised the planned move away from rural development funding which ‘delivers most for the environment’.
The claims were made in a new report commissioned by the Soil Association, Setting the Bar for a Green Brexit in Food and Farming.
“The UK has played a major role in greening the CAP, leading a coalition of like-minded states such as, at times, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark,” said the report.
“In the mid-1980s, it was the first member state to adopt agri-environment schemes and was also a pioneer in cross-compliance.
“UK environmental charities have also played a central role in civil society campaigns for a more environmentally-friendly CAP and have long called for the CAP to better fit a ‘public money for public goods’ approach.
“Removing the UK from future CAP negotiations creates a risk of decreased ambition at a time when the EU needs to step up climate action and its approach to other linked environmental challenges such as biodiversity loss, water and air pollution.”