Common grazings as an environmental asset
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Common grazings as an environmental asset. Vicki Swales Head of Land Use Policy. Content. Farming and the environment – an intrinsic relationship High Nature Value farming systems Environmental goods and services from common grazings The policy challenge Potential solutions.

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Common grazings as an environmental asset

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Common grazings as an environmental asset

Common grazings as an environmental asset

Vicki Swales

Head of Land Use Policy


Content

Content

  • Farming and the environment – an intrinsic relationship

  • High Nature Value farming systems

  • Environmental goods and services from common grazings

  • The policy challenge

  • Potential solutions


Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services

  • Provisioning services – food, fibre and timber

  • Regulating services – pollutant sink (e.g. carbon sequestration), flood control

  • Supporting – soil formation and retention, habitats, biodiversity

  • Cultural services – landscape character, cultural traditions, community identity


Common grazings as an environment asset

Common grazings as an environment asset

  • EFNCP estimate that common grazings make up 15-20% of HNV farmland in Scotland

  • Semi-natural vegetation and low stocking densities underpin the nature value

  • Lack of research on environmental value of common grazings needs addressing

  • RSPB analysis of livestock declines and birds highlights concerns


The policy challenge

The policy challenge

  • Getting recognition of the value of common grazings (and HNV systems) and the benefits they provide

  • Demonstrating that the current policy framework fails to support common grazings

  • Identifying policy solutions and building widespread support for these


Current sfp distribution

Current SFP distribution


Total approved rp and lmo spend ha

Total approved RP and LMO spend £/ha


Vulnerable farming areas

Vulnerable Farming Areas

  • Highlands and Islands Agricultural Support Group

  • Calling for recognition of the value of, and problems facing, VFAs

  • Concerted effort to halt the decline of farming and crofting in the VFA using existing and future agriculture support measures


Cap reform

CAP reform

  • Move to area based support with redistribution of funds

  • Provision for new entrants

  • Use Pillar I option for ‘areas with natural constraints’

  • Ensure increased share of EU rural development funds for Scotland


Cap reform1

CAP reform

  • Ensure next SRDP (and sub-programmes) target support at VFAs

  • Better use Less Favoured Area scheme to support farming and crofting in the VFA

  • Ensure better targeting of LMO and RP schemes (or successors) to farming and crofting in the VFAs


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • The importance of common grazings, as part of HNV systems, must be recognised

  • Common grazings are an environmental asset

  • Current public support for common grazings is weak and ineffective

  • CAP reform offers an opportunity to improve support for common grazings and sustain HNV farming and crofting systems

  • But, not unless we make the case for it


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