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CLA call to fund green projects.

THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has urged the Government to move quickly to find new ways to pay farmers and land managers who look after the North's natural environment.

Following the launch of a report by the Ecosystem Market Task Force (EMTF) published this week, the association said that more conservation work is needed within the natural environment and that the work should be funded by private money.

CLA North director of policy and public affairs Douglas Chalmers said: "The CLA is completely committed to finding market solutions to pay for conserving the natural environment. We must move away from relying on public money to pay for everything.

"We fully support the EMTF ideas that private sector solutions should encourage the development of markets such as biodiversity offsetting and the greater use of wood fuel. These would add value and help pay for the natural environment.

"We could have more small-scale anaerobic digestion to turn waste into energy, but this is hindered by the planning and permitting rules. We could meet the costs of flood prevention by ensuring those who benefit from such measures contribute towards the cost."

Chalmers said the main challenge was removing the obstacles blocking these markets. He said he was pleased the report noted the limitations of using the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to fund environmental works.

He said: "As current discussions in Brussels are making clear, the CAP budget is highly unlikely to remain the same size over the long term.

"Rules underpinning the CAP only allow payments for environmental works to be made on potentially lost income.

"So if the land manager only gets the money he would have received from continuing his existing activities, why should he do anything different? Clearly, this needs to be looked at more thoroughly and more thoughtfully."

The CLA is committed to finding market solutions to pay for conserving the natural environment
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2013
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