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EU Parliament 'ignored' agriculture e-mails, RSPB says.

RSPB Cymru claims the EU Parliament let down the Welsh countryside by voting through weak proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The wildlife charity claims-MEPs in Strasbourg "ignored" more than a million e-mails from members of the public who urged them to reform the CAP so that it delivers for the environment and farming.

During an EU Parliament debate on reforming the CAP last week, MEPs voted to reduce the amount of land farmers would have to manage for environmental benefit.

They also showed support for removing financial penalties for farmers convicted of breaking environmental laws.

Across Europe, RSPB Cymru claims more than a million e-mails were sent to MEPs by concerned members of the public, as part of an online campaign calling on them to push for meaningful changes to the CAP to ensure agricultural subsidies support wildlife-friendly farming.

In the UK, MEPs received nearly 120,000 e-mails.

Arfon Williams, RSPB Cymru countryside manager said: "People across Europe have called on MEPs to push for a CAP that works for the environment, consumers and wildlife-friendly farmers. But that call has been ignored.

"The original proposal to have a minimum of 7% of farmland in environmental focus areas has been watered down to just 3% - this is not enough if we really want to restore the health of Europe's countryside and the wildlife within it.

"Currently farmers who pollute waterways, damage habitats and disturb threatened wildlife can have their subsidies taken away - but MEPs yesterday voted to overturn most of these rules.

"There was also a lack of support for financial measures to help high nature value farmers, those individuals like many of Wales' upland farmers provide vital management for wildlife but get a really poor deal from the CAP.

"This vote paints a picture of an EU Parliament which has not listened to the concerns of taxpayers, and has not got to grips with the challenge of changing the way our countryside is managed so that both people and nature benefit."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 19, 2013
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