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Future of farming group “on hold”

Bainbridge, 11 December, 2017

The work of a “task and finish” group set up to develop proposals for a local approach to farm support post-Brexit has been put on hold.

An interim report published today (go to Item 6) – which will be debated at next week’s Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) meeting – says the group is awaiting a response from government to an initial set of ideas, and that further work can take place only when a response is received.

In April, National Parks England submitted a paper to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), which lobbied for “locally-led agri-environment schemes” in any post-Brexit English farm support.

The paper provided a framework for an approach that could be applied across all National Parks in England.  It was then up to each National Park Authority to develop more detailed proposals for how that approach might work in their area. This led to the YDNPA task and finish group being formally established in June.  

Ian McPherson, Deputy Chairman of the National Park Authority and chair of the task and finish group, said:  “Our group – which includes three Dales farmers – has met five times in the past few months.  We’ve taken the National Parks England paper and added what we think should be the local priorities in any new farm support scheme.  But we really need government to provide the parameters for future farm support before going any further.  

“We recognise that Defra has a lot of work to do to shape an agricultural policy for the whole of England, not just the National Parks. And we also recognise that there is a set of very complex negotiations taking place in Brussels.  However, ministers and officials have expressed interest in National Parks England’s ideas, and we eagerly await a formal response.

“Securing the future of high nature value, upland farming is of critical importance for the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  Farmers do more than any other group to look after the Dales landscape. ”

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