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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2016-07-29 12:18:12

RobWolton
Committee
Name: Rob Wolton
Registered: 2009-08-13
Posts: 114

Parliamentary enquiry on post Brexit funding of natural environment

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the future of the natural environment in the light of the EU referendum.  Please see http://www.parliament.uk/business/commi … ch-16-17/.  I am willing to submit a response on behalf of the Dipterists Forum.  Could you please let me have any views you may have by 28 August.

The enquiry is focusing on the future of agri-environment schemes under the CAP, with particular reference to biodiversity, but is also investigating the role that managed rewilding can play in the conservation and restoration of habitats and wildlife.  Please note that it is not covering the future of EU directives such as the Habitats and Species Directive.  The consultation covers all UK countries.

Informed opinion suggests that Pillar 1 CAP support-type payments are likely to be withdrawn - these are the payments that farmers currently receive simply because they own or manage agricultural land.  Linked to these payments are some basic environmental requirements that many would argue represent the bare minimum of responsible behaviour.  If these payments are withdrawn, then potentially large areas of land, especially in marginal areas such as the uplands, could be abandoned.  This may be why rewilding has been specifically included in the consultation.  Would we be concerned should the uplands, for example, be allowed to develop scrub and woodland (deer permitting)?  Or if farm sizes increase further and land use intensifies as the only way of achieving profitability?

One would hope that some of the money saved from Pillar 1 type payments would be redirected towards Pillar 2-type payments, currently provided through agri-environment payments such as Countryside Stewardship in England, Glastir in Wales and Agri-Environment Climate Scheme in Scotland.  Are we in favour of the continuation of such schemes?  How can they be improved?  Should they be targeted on landscapes that currently have high nature conservation value, or be available across the land? This is not a consultation that will consider detailed land management prescriptions, but are there any new or different approaches we would like to see that would specifically benefit invertebrates including Diptera?

I would suggest that the existing Countryside Stewardship scheme in England should be scrapped, and a new and better resourced one be developed which is less tightly targeted and less competitive, much simpler to apply for and to administer, much more flexible and linked to to one-to-one on farm advice.  Would you agree? I am not familiar with the schemes in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and would welcome views on how these can be improved.

If Pillar 1 type payments are retained in some form, what environmental conditions would we wish see linked to them?  What general measures will help to maintain and boost invertebrate populations?  The retention of hedges, ponds, semi-natural grasslands?  Support for organic farming?  Again, views please.

Regards

Rob Wolton
Conservation Officer

robertwolton@yahoo.co.uk

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#2 2016-09-09 14:39:39

RobWolton
Committee
Name: Rob Wolton
Registered: 2009-08-13
Posts: 114

Re: Parliamentary enquiry on post Brexit funding of natural environment

I have submitted a response to this inquiry on behalf of the DF.  The rules of such inquiries state that submissions should not be made publicly available (although they will be placed on a parliamentary website in due course).  So, I cannot supply our submission here.  However, if you would like to see a copy, please contact me direct.  robertwolton@yahoo.co.uk

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#3 2016-09-27 12:12:13

RobWolton
Committee
Name: Rob Wolton
Registered: 2009-08-13
Posts: 114

Re: Parliamentary enquiry on post Brexit funding of natural environment

Our submission has now been published by Parliament - see http://data.parliament.uk/writteneviden … 37539.html

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#4 2017-01-06 13:22:23

RobWolton
Committee
Name: Rob Wolton
Registered: 2009-08-13
Posts: 114

Re: Parliamentary enquiry on post Brexit funding of natural environment

The Parliamentary committee report has now been published.  See http://www.parliament.uk/business/commi … ications/.  The report recognises that there are high risks to our environment as as result of the UK'sdeparture from the EU.  These risks need to addressed before departure, and the committee recommends that Government commits to a new Environment Protection Act before triggering Article 50.  A particular risk is that our environmental protection measures (eg over pesticide use) are traded away during trade negotiations, and that existing legislation (e..g that which delivers the Birds and Habitats Directives)  becomes 'zombie' legislation.  However, the report also recognises that our departure offers opportunities for improvements to legislation (after all EU directives are far from prefect) and to land management, in particular to the way in which public money is used.  Direct income support for farmers is considered undesirable, rather payments to farmers should be made against delivery of public goods (e.g. biodiversity but not food).  Agri-environment schemes (such as the successor to Countryside Stewardship in England) should be simpler, more outcome focused, and be supported by stronger advice services.  The report suggests that new schemes should support innovative practices such as rewildling and agroforestry.  The advantages of landscape-scale approaches (as opposed to operating at just a individual farm level) are recognised.  To address the on-going decline in farmlands wildlife, as highlighted in the recent State of Nature report, funding for agri-environment schemes should be greater than at present.  So, the advice we gave to the committee in our written submission is reflected in the report's conclusions and recommendations.

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