Farming in the Uplands - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Contents


Written submission by Pennine Prospects

INTRODUCTION

  Pennine Prospects welcomes the publication of the CRC report on the future of our uplands and the opportunity to submit this background paper to the EFRA committee's short enquiry

  Pennine Prospects is a partnership of local authorities, government agencies, private sector and voluntary organisations which have a shared interest in ensuring a sustainable future for the people, wildlife and landscapes of the South Pennines (NCA No.36). We are a company limited by guarantee, formally known as the Southern Pennines Rural Regeneration Company, established in 2005 and currently delivering regeneration programmes and projects with substantial funding (c. £5 million) from the Rural Development Programme for Rural England (via Leader) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (Landscape Partnerships programme), together with other local and national funding eg. Natural England, local authorities etc.

  The issues covered by the report are central to our core business of conserving and enhancing the South Pennines landscape and its habitats in order to deliver social and economic benefits not only to the 450,000 people who live within the South Pennines, but also the 7 million people who live within a 1 hour drive of the South Pennines—the residents of the Manchester and Leeds City Regions and Central Lancashire.

  Situated between the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the South Pennines have long been seen as a neglected landscape, due in part to its industrial past, but this is quickly changing with increased recognition of the under-exploited recreational potential of the area and the "ecosystem services" which it provides to the surrounding conurbations. Significantly, the South Pennines have been selected by Natural England as one of the three national pilots established to test ways of better understanding and valuing the ecosystem services that the landscape provides to wider society.

KEY POINTS

1. Introduction

  1.1 We generally welcome report and support its recommendations

  1.2 Upland boundaries don't necessarily follow regional/administrative boundaries

  1.3 The Coalition Government's emphasis is on "bottom up" local approach. This runs counter to call for a "top down" national vision and strategy

  1.4 South Pennines are a relatively highly populated upland area containing a significant proportion of England's "upland residents"

  1.5 Socio-economic issues vary between accessible and remote upland areas eg. loss of young people, access to jobs

2. Integrated Strategy

  2.1 Integrated approach is welcome—people and landscape are inter-dependent

3 Strengthening leadership and momentum

  3.1 An uplands "tsar" is unlikely to be supported by Coalition Government, but integration across departments (not just Defra) is crucial

4. Empowering Communities

  4.1 The MAA suggestion is interesting (still valid?), but PP already offers a model for local authorities working together at a landscape scale without any statutory arrangements or central (eg.NP/AONB) funding

  4.2 We support proposal to strengthen responsibilities of NPs relating to economic and social well being. Again, PP aspires to a similar model without the formal status and level of public funding

5. A new approach to funding

  5.1 We support the new approach from UK and EU to reward farmers for managing assets and developing enterprises, but recognise that scope for diversification is often limited. Payments need to be moved "up the hill" in order to target the most disadvanataged farmers

  5.2 Current "income foregone" model is a major barrier—we need to move beyond this

  5.3 We support flexible menu of measures under Axes 3 and 4 (Leader) to support sustainable communities (need to continue current support)

  5.4 Need to Rreview access to RDPE business support in South Pennines—poor penetration at present

6. Developing markets for carbon and water

  6.1 We strongly support that Defra should establish long-term management strategy (10 years+) to mitigate carbon loss in peatlands

  6.2 We support DECC and BIS development of market driven approach to carbon management

  6.3 The roll out of Sustainable Catchment Management Plan approach, deployed by United Utilities in the South Pennines provides a good model for wider application in upland areas

7. Securing the future for upland farming

  7.1 We support an early review of Upland ELS to ensure that uptake and impacts are maximised

  7.2 We support a rapid review of stocking rates to ensure a flexible approach appropriate to local circumstances

8. Encouraging enterprise in green growth areas

  8.1 We support a requirement for local authorities to complete an audit of opportunities for renewable energy to stimulate new enterprise. Some good examples exist in the uplands but more could be done

  8.2 More specialist green business support would be welcome—Green Business Network model in Calderdale/Kirklees could be applied more widely if funding were available

  8.3 We support the call for more local social/economic benefit from any future upland afforestation eg. through local job creation and supply of local wood fuel

9. Raising Aspirations: supporting development of communities

  9.1 Arrangements for voluntary/community sector should be replaced with committed and reliable measures

  9.2 A continuation of Leader approach vital, with appropriate level of funding

10. Improving broadband and mobile telecommunications

  10.1 Basic provision is not such a major issue in the South Pennines, but next generation services may take much longer to arrive through the market

11. Planning to enable upland sustainable communities

  This is mainly concerned with land for housing, but should also focus on employment land for development of an appropriate scale and type.

November 2010






 
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