Before the second reading of the Agriculture Bill on 10th October 2018 we sent a breifing to all MPs. In the breifing we asked the MPs to help us protect, maintain and enhance Common Land by engaging with the Agriculture Bill. Commons are iconic places looked after by iconic people. The Bill as currently drafted provides no safeguards for Common Land and the Government has failed to make any financial commitments on the quantum of public funding after 2022. This puts our cultural and natural heritage at risk.
What needs Fixing in the Bill:
- We request explicit recognition of traditional pastoral systems as a public benefit. The pastoral system of Commoning represents a historic way of managing our most valued landscapes and habitats. This system is at risk and will disappear without explicit public investment.
- We oppose delinking direct payments from land management except when retirement is assured and if accompanied by a new entrant scheme. As drafted new entrants will not be able to compete with existing farmers to take on farms vacated by retirees. Instead the proposed policy favours economies of scales and is likely to lead to fewer commoners and either ranching or increased grazing levels. This is not in the public interest.
- Public Support is Required for Native Breeds of Cattle, Ponies or Sheep These breeds are best suited to environmentally sensitive grazing of our most valued habitats but will never be as productive as commercial breeds.
- Legislation and policy should acknowledge the complexity of land tenure rewarding the multiple players operating on the same piece of common land
You can read the debate in Hansard