5 Conclusion |
90. Greening, in terms of greater environmental
benefits is a laudable aim for the Commission. But the weight
of evidence we received suggests that the current proposed measures
are poorly designed. There is little evidence that they will deliver
significant environmental benefit. They also risk reducing the
competitiveness and productivity of EU farmers.
91. A consistent theme throughout the evidence
is that environmental benefits are enhanced when measures are
tailored to local circumstances. There is a clear tension between
a CAP that was conceived as a method of securing a single market
and a CAP that reflects local circumstances. As the CAP has developed
and become more about environmental outcomes, the rationale for
a centralised, heavily regulatory and interventionist policy has
diminished. As the objectives of the CAP have shifted so has the
balance of moneypreviously EU funds were spent on intervention
pricing and providing compensation to farmers. The CAP's move
towards an environmental focus has meant that EU funds should
now be focussed on attaining the desired environmental outcomes.
92. We consider environmental
enhancements under the CAP to be beneficial. UK farmers have delivered
significant environmental improvement through agri-environment
schemes and the Government must ensure that those benefits are
not diluted by the imposition of mandatory 'greening' measures
that would create perverse and contradictory outcomes.
93. A CAP that is determined solely by what compromises
can be made in negotiations is bound to flounder on the detail.
CAP 'greening' must be done effectively, providing tangible environmental
benefits and without disproportionate costs to beneficiaries or
Member States. If the 'greening' proposals do not meet these requirements,
either Member States and the European Parliament will seek to
water them down and so render them ineffective; or, worse, they
will have perverse, negative outcomes for the environment and
94. Without greater clarity about the details
of the rules and requirements of the measures it is difficult
to assess the environmental impact of the proposed Pillar 1 'greening'
Commission will approve the details of the proposals in the form
of delegated acts once the negotiations on the main legislation
The UK Government, along with the other Member States is being
asked to agree to a set of proposals without any detailed evidence
as to their efficacy or desirability.
95. Rather than place their faith in the Commission's
as yet ill-defined measures, Member States and the European Parliament
should continue to work on revising the proposals so that they
allow for flexibility of approach while protecting the environment.
We do not recommend that
Defra oppose the concept of 'greening' Pillar 1, but rather that
it should focus on the practical effects of the proposals. Defra
must focus on securing a system that gives enough flexibility
to the UK to work within its existing system of agri-environment
schemes. There is still time for the proposals to be improved
and Defra must ensure it has the resources to find, engage and
secure reliable allies across the European Union and effectively
and persuasively to put the UK's case that the CAP should support
both the agricultural sector and provide environmental protection.
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