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Future of uplands open to conversation

Farmers and those who manage the uplands are urged to better explain the benefits they provide to the public for the future of the uplands. 


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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The future of uplands in talks after debating potential impacts of different approaches https://goo.gl/m3rUHm

Upland bosses need to further communicate with consumers about the benefits upland production can deliver for the public good.

 

Over 80 participants were urged to join the conversation to explore policy and land management issues at last week’s Looking Forward: Supporting the Uplands workshop.

 

Attendees included farmers and moor owners to a wide range of environmental NGOs, and academics to the Defra committee including the RPA, National Parks and National England.

 

Vice-chairman of the Uplands Alliance Julia Aglionby said: “The unanimous realisation and conclusion from the day was that those that farm and manage the uplands could better explain the benefits they are providing to the public in clear simple language.

 

“This will assist the public appreciate payments are made as a fair reward for the failure of the market to pay for these benefits.

 

“For instance entrance to our National Parks is free. Current BPS and agri-environment payments to upland farmers equate to £3.30 per visit per year – this is immensely good value to the taxpayer.”


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Click to enlarge. Source: Uplands Alliance

The claims came after land and farming organisations debated four potential scenarios to consider the likely impacts of contrasting approaches in supporting the uplands.

 

Better explanation

Farmers explained the challenging realities of delivering environmental outcomes in harsh conditions and the demand for schemes that were practical and attractive.

 

Defra director general for environment and rural Sonia Phippard said she was seeking clarity over stewardship schemes in the next few years.

 

“There is a very strong understanding and acceptance by everybody that the Treasury is absolutely key in moving things forward,” said Dr Aglionby.

 

NFU deputy president Minette Batters highlighted the need for a better explanation of what the uplands produced and what they could offer, and a redefinition of the provision of public goods.

 

Mrs Batters said the livestock industry in the uplands needs to be ‘vibrant’ and ‘successful’ highlighting a need to better use grass to support the strong livestock industry and its produce.

 

The Uplands Alliance Steering Group said they were exploring having regional events in other areas to continue the conversation.

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