Category Archives: Natural environment

What should an agriculture policy designed for public benefit look like?

Yorkshire grazing meadowsThis post is by Jonathan Baker, senior land use policy adviser at the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

In these fevered times, environmentalists and farmers find themselves in agreement about much. There is an established cross sector consensus on the importance of the UK developing trade policies that do not export environmental problems, the need for a substantial and long term budget to support rural areas, and – albeit grudgingly in some instances – the necessity of moving to an agricultural policy that focuses on providing public benefits in return for public money.

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What will the Clean Air Strategy really do for people and nature?

Apis_mellifera_-_Senecio_paludosus_-_KeilaThis post is by Jenny Hawley, senior policy officer at Plantlife.

Debate around the government’s Clean Air Strategy has been focused on whether it will cut the roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from city traffic. But it is also supposed to take a long overdue look at other air quality issues. Read more

How serious is the government about high standards for food and farming?

Various vegetables on display in grocery storeMost of us don’t have to think too much about the food we eat, beyond “what on earth am I going to cook this evening?” We assume there will be food we want at an affordable price, and that, if it is on the shelf, it is safe to eat and has been produced to acceptable environmental and welfare standards. But the new trade relationships we negotiate after Brexit could present significant risks to the UK’s food system which could put an end to this confidence. Read more

The future of upland farming in the UK: a business model that works

upland farming sheep.jpgThis post is by Chris Clark of Nethergill Farm. It is the second in a short series about the options for the future of upland hill farming in the UK. 

In my previous blog I outlined the economic challenges faced by hill farmers today and suggested ways that they can take back control of their businesses and become profitable in a post-Brexit world. Here, I outline how, at Nethergill Farm, we came to realise we had to fundamentally change our business model to survive.

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Why we can’t keep the environment separate from economics

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This article is by Kirk Hamilton, Cameron Hepburn, Alexander Teytelboym, Frank Sperling and Francois Cohen, the authors of Wealth of Nature, published by the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, in partnership with Green Economy Coalition.

George Monbiot doesn’t have a reputation for pulling his punches, and his recent Guardian column is a case in point. In it, he takes aim at the idea of ‘natural capital’: the idea that, by better understanding the economic value of nature, we might better protect it.  Condemning such attempts as “morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, and most of all counter-productive”, George argues that economic approaches to natural protection can only lead to one thing: the wholesale destruction of nature for profit.

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A future for farming in National Parks

 

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This article was originally published by the Campaigns for National Parks, and was written by David Corrie-Close, a Lake District farmer at the Horned Beef company.

When I was asked to blog about my farm in the Lake District National Park and how I balance the needs of the farm with the needs of the natural environment, I laughed. My reply, and the subject of this blog, is that the natural environment provides the opportunity for farming. We need to relearn the harmony in which the two chime together.

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Why does Michael Gove want to treat farmers and water companies differently?

gove smallMichael Gove was in pugnacious form in his address to last week’s annual Water UK City Conference. Pulling no punches, his subjects included water company abuse of monopoly power, the use of offshore companies and complex financial engineering, and the privileging of shareholders at the expense of the UK’s billpayers, taxpayers and the environment. It would be no surprise if, in the aftermath, a number of bruised industry executives were tempted to beat a retreat to their Cayman Island offices so criticised by Gove. Read more

The future of upland farming in the UK: what farmers are facing

5439343324_7894b4ec92_b.jpgThis post is by Chris Clark of Nethergill Farm. It is the first in a short series about the options for the future of upland hill farming in the UK.

With the increased uncertainty regarding the viability of hill farms, the time is now ripe for farmers to think radically about hill farm management and consider new alternatives in a way that has not been possible since the last war.  The justification for the old hill farming world is going or maybe has already gone. Read more

The prime minister’s environment speech must herald a shift to restore nature

35894018871_3a2b1e0cdb_bTomorrow, Theresa May will deliver a major speech on the environment, it will be the first keynote environment speech delivered by a British prime minister since Tony Blair did so in 2000. David Cameron might have hugged huskies in the Arctic but, in practice, the environment as a whole was not a top priority for him (although he did address the UN on climate and gave a small speech on energy efficiency). Blair also delivered a major speech specifically on climate in 2004.

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