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Uplands Inquiry must secure better future for hill farmers-Farron

March 18, 2009 10:24 AM

Speaking ahead of the Commission for Rural Communities' two-day hearing in Alnwick, Northumberland which will be examining the challenges facing the UK's upland communities, Liberal Democrat Defra Spokesperson Tim Farron MP has called on the inquiry to help secure a better future for hill farmers.

Dr Stuart Burgess, who is leading the uplands inquiry, will be collecting evidence from hill farmers, businesses and representatives of upland communities as part of a two day tour of the North East.

Mr Farron, who is also the Chair of the Hill Farming All Party Parliamentary Group, believes that the inquiry must be used to highlight the massive value that hill farmers provide to the nation and the fact that the number of people involved in hill farming is dwindling.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"It's essential that our uplands our managed by people who know how to look after this type of environment. The activities of upland communities generate and maintain the textured landscape and rich biodiversity which is so valued by the public.

"Upland farmers serve a unique purpose in the countryside by maintaining the landscape, supporting biodiversity and wildlife protection, and helping with issues arising from flood management and climate change.

"This inquiry is the perfect opportunity to impress upon the public the need to reward upland farmers for the goods they produce or else run the risk of watching the industry decline even further.

"The fundamental problem is that hill farmer are not been paid enough to cover the costs of all the benefits they produce. Hill farmers don't want to be given subsidies, but they do want to receive a fair payment for their hard work."