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Farron demands fair pay for hill farmers after report reveals "impoverished" uplands

June 15, 2010 12:00 AM

A year-long inquiry into the state of Britain's Uplands by the Commission for Rural Communities has found that areas such as South Lakeland are impoverished, with local MP Tim Farron calling on the Government to pay farmers for looking after the countryside.

Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) says a programme of integrated policies is needed to protect hill communities and the landscape. Recommendations in the report include targeting funding under the Common Agricultural Policy to reward farmers for protecting natural assets.

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; but also the threat to the future of the British countryside brought about by the dwindling numbers of hill farmers.

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 farmers are not being 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."