RSPB Set-aside Lifeline Hauled Back In


This page contains 3 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Mon 01/10/07 09:45).

Stone Curlew (photo: Peter Simpson) .

The decision today to scrap a measure that has helped farmland birds across Europe will damn many species to further declines. Numbers of Skylarks, Yellowhammers and Linnets could plummet another 5% now that the EU has abolished set-aside - a 19-year-old requirement for some fields on every arable farm to be left fallow.

Set-aside has been a boon for farmland birds, whose populations have dropped by 40% in the last 30 years. Stone Curlews will be particularly at risk because many farmers have created nesting areas for them on set-aside.

Gareth Morgan, Head of Agriculture Policy at the RSPB, said: "We're very disappointed with this decision particularly since nothing is being done to provide alternative benefits for wildlife. Set-aside land had become a giant bird table for many species and a place where birds could nest safe from farm machinery. Even one year without it will seriously affect the government's hopes of halting farmland bird declines and it is crucial now that Defra encourages and rewards farmers for continuing to help the wildlife on their farms."

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn is expected to announce the government's response to the EU decision tomorrow.

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The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (3)

There is no explanation as to why the EU has retracted 'set aside' Can anybody enlighten me please?
   Roger Norwood, 28/09/07 07:24Report inappropriate post Report 
BRUSSELS - Europe's farm chief has proposed ending the EU's rule that farmers leave 10 percent of their land fallow, part of a strategy to temper soaring grain prices and increase supplies, the EU executive said on Thursday. From 2008, if EU agriculture ministers agree, the rate of obligatory set-aside -- as that subsidy-eligible farmland is known -- would be set at zero, although farmers would still be able to set aside part of their arable area voluntarily.
   britmonkey, 28/09/07 10:40Report inappropriate post Report 
Also see this.. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article2087482.ece
   Robin Pearson, 01/10/07 09:45Report inappropriate post Report 

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