Campaign for National Parks hopeful over proposals for future of environmental payments

Campaign for National Parks is hopeful that today’s announcement from the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, that future payments of public money to farmers, will incentivise environmentally friendly practices and usher in positive enhancements for National Parks in England.

In his comments at the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) today, which reflected his speech to the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC), Mr Gove argued that the current Basic Payment Scheme was unjust and inefficient and should be replaced with funding that rewarded land managers who were working hard to enhance our natural environment.

Sheep farming in Northumberland National Park

Sheep farming in Northumberland National Park. Photo credit: Northumberland National Park Authority.

Campaign for National Parks supports the shift towards the use of public money to reward the delivery of public goods. Mr Gove also recognised the important role that upland farmers have played in keeping rural communities alive. Campaign for National Parks believes the upland landscapes in our National Parks provide a significant contribution to the economy and in shaping England’s iconic landscapes. However, current management practices fall short in delivering the full spectrum of public benefits that these areas can deliver.

Fiona Howie, chief executive of Campaign for National Parks said “The current system has largely failed to deliver the environmental improvements our National Parks desperately need. We have been consistently calling for a payments system based on the provision of public money for public goods, so we welcome Mr Gove’s intention to develop such an approach. 

"We want to see a new system that supports farmers and land managers to protect and enhance our National Parks. It must enable these beautiful areas to be more resilient to climate change and deliver a wide range of public benefits, including more wildlife, better protected cultural heritage, high quality landscapes and even more appropriate, recreational opportunities."