Written evidence submitted by the National
(a) The National Trust wholeheartedly agrees
with the finding of the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC)
that the uplands should be considered "areas of significant
environmental, cultural and social value and opportunity".
The CRC report summarises these opportunities well. The Trust
has a long-term programme to deliver more of these public goods
by supporting our upland farmers to move towards more sustainable
methods of land management and by encouraging our visitors and
the wider public to reconnect with the land so that they value
it and have a role in caring for it.
(b) The uplands are at a critical point
in their historythe economic structures that have supported
hill farming in the past are changing in ways that make the future
uncertain. Yet, we cannot afford to lose this opportunity to refocus
farming for a more sustainable future. The CRC report rightly
recommends action on a number of big opportunities to move upland
farming onto a more sustainable basis. The Trust agrees that this
has to happen through:
Reconnecting people with the land, helping
them to see its importance and how they can support upland areas.
Reforming the CAP to create a new policy
framework aimed at delivering more sustainable land management.
Supporting farmers to diversify their
business eg through renewable energy generation.
Developing environmental markets that
reflect the value of all the services that land managers provide.
2. COMMENTS REGARDING
SPECIFIC CRC RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1 Empowering communities in the uplandsCRC
2.1.1 The Trust supports CRC recommendations
3.2 and 3.3 which emphasise the importance of multi-agency working
focused on a particular upland area. We are part of the Lake District
Partnership which is becoming a very effective focus for leading
programmes across the Lakes. Its recent Partnership Plan has taken
a holistic approach, pulling together key social, economic and
2.1.2 The uplands community is much broader
than those that live and work there, it includes those that visit,
as well as large numbers of people who may never visit but feel
a special connection to it. We must harness this interest and
care and link it to practical ways through which people can support
hill farming. The National Trust's initiative with Booths Supermarket,
for example, provides a simple way for consumers to support Lakeland
farmers by buying meat labelled "Traditional Beef from National
2.2 A new approach to fundingCRC recommendations
2.2.1 The Trust agrees with CRC recommendation
4.1 that reform of the CAP provides an important opportunity move
to a contractual basis of "public money for public goods"
through a "greening" of the whole CAP. We are currently
very concerned about indications that there will be less money
available in the Higher Level Scheme going forward, this would
clearly jeopardise the future delivery of a number of essential
public goods and the viability of vulnerable farming systems.
2.2.2 We also strongly support CRC recommendation
4.2. Current funding mechanisms based on income foregone and calculated
according to averaged loss of agricultural productivity do not
reflect the actual costs or benefits achieved through land management
changes or incentivise and reward positive change.
2.3 Developing markets for carbon, water,
woodland products and foodCRC recommendations 5.1-5.3
2.3.1 The Trust feels that there are good
opportunities to develop markets for land-based products and services
and supports CRC recommendations 5.2 and 5.3. For example, the
Trust receives support from the private sector, including United
Utilities and Biffa, to restore peatlands thus improving water
condition, stabilising carbon and restoring habitats.
2.4 Securing the future for hill farmingCRC
2.4.1 The Trust strongly supports CRC recommendation
6.2 regarding stocking rates. Funding scheme requirements should
be more flexible and responsive to local conditions rather than
generic prescriptions, in order to achieve optimum gain. A favoured
approach would allow greater autonomy for land managers combined
with robust partnership monitoring to ensure measurable objectives
are consistently met. This would encourage much greater "buy-in",
understanding and innovation.
2.4.3 Whilst we support CRC recommendation
6.5 regarding provision of training, the almost complete disappearance
of hill farming resources from land-based colleges is a symptom
of wider issues rather than a cause. Educational courses and training
opportunities have diminished over time due to a lack of participants,
poor financial returns and prospects in hill farming, uncertainty
over the future of the industry, lack of affordable housing and
limited entry opportunities. Addressing the underlying causes
would greatly increase demand for courses and colleges would respond
to meet this demand.
2.4.4 We support CRC recommendation 6.6
for commercial demonstration farms, these should be placed within
existing businesses rather than new developments.
2.5 Encouraging enterprise in new green growth
areasCRC recommendations 7.1-7.4
2.5.1 The Trust agrees that there is a clear
opportunity for land owners to generate new income from renewable
schemes. Feasibility studies hydro on Trust land, for example,
have indicated that not only would this generate regular income
through the feed-in tariff but done on an appropriate scale would
create a significant carbon-neutral source of energy.
2.6 Planning to enable sustainable communitiesCRC
2.6.1 Affordable housing is clearly an important
piece in the jigsaw and cannot be overlooked. We are therefore
supportive of recommendations to improve access to and provision
of affordable housing in conjunction with social and economic
actions to create sustainable communities.
2.7 Common land management
2.7.1 Common land is an integral element
of upland farming but the nature of its management is distinctly
different from most agricultural land and this is generally poorly
understood or overlooked when drafting policy and payment schemes.
CAP reform, Single Payment Scheme and Uplands Entry Level Scheme
have brought significant difficulties with regard to their application
and management, leading to financial disadvantage to many commoners.
Future legislation and support schemes must ensure that they recognise
and address their applicability to common land and common management
to ensure these highly important areas have fair access to public
The National Trust is Europe's largest conservation
and access charity. We have over 3.7 million members.
We care for 254,000 hectares of land in England,
Wales and Northern Ireland, including some of the nation's most
treasured countryside. Our upland countryside includes one quarter
of the Lake District, Snowdonia and iconic parts of the Peak District.
The National Trust has to integrate social, economic and environmental
needs in order to deliver sustainable management of our land.
45% of Trust land is within National
Parks and 27% in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
We host an estimated 100 million visits
each year to our open countryside.
Most of our land is inalienable and held
in perpetuity for the benefit of the nation. It can never be sold
or compulsorily purchased without the approval of Parliament.
Over 90% of our land is used for production
and we have over 1,500 farm tenants.
40% of our land is designated as nationally
important for wildlife.
43% of all land in England and Wales
drains to the boundary of a National Trust property.