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Defra non-exec director Ben Goldsmith calls for reframing of rewilding debate

Defra non-executive director Ben Goldsmith has called for ‘rewilding’ to be renamed ‘wilder farming’ in order to reassure farmers they are central to the movement.

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Defra non-exec director Ben Goldsmith calls for reframing of rewilding debate

Mr Goldsmith said the media had pushed the idea that rewilding was the preserve of ‘trendy metropolitan eco-zealots’ who wanted to ‘drive out traditional farming’, but claimed this was not the case.

 

In an article for Farmers Guardian’s Brexit hub, he wrote: “The fear of some people is that ambitious nature restoration represents a threat to the traditional farming communities which have managed our remoter landscapes for centuries, and could even lead to their disappearance altogether.

 

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Traditional farming is essential to the process of nature recovery on agriculturally marginal land.


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“That is why the term ‘wilder farming’, rather than ‘rewilding’, may be a better way to describe the changes so many people long to see across swathes of Britain.”

 

In his piece, Mr Goldsmith references a Rewilding Britain campaign to boost biodiversity across more than a million hectares of land – five per cent of the country – by 2100.

 

But the farming community in Wales reacted angrily to a similar Rewilding Britain plan to bring together one continuous ‘nature-rich’ area, stretching from Pumlumon massif to Cardigan Bay, known as Summit to Sea.

 

Consultation

 

Farmers had complained they only found out their land was included in the area earmarked for change through ‘chance conversations’, and claimed there was no discussion or consultation with the local people affected.

 

In October 2019, Rewilding Britain pulled out of the project after rural groups warned it was causing considerable damage to relationships between local and agricultural communities and Summit to Sea partner organisations, such as the RSBP and the Woodland Trust.

 

To read Mr Goldsmith’s article in full, click HERE.

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