The public has until the 23rd of March 2018 to highlight their priorities for the reformed CAP scheme post-2020. The Irish Wildlife Trust is asking members of the public to engage with this important process and to particularly highlight the need to protect the environment and biodiversity in any reformed plan.
A submission form can be download from the Department of Agriculture website and emailed or posted back with your comments. The form is a simple document asking your name, and asking for comments under its key headings such as CAP simplification, direction payments, the environment, research and innovation, rural development and the food supply chain. A submission does not need to include points under all of these headings only whatever observations you wish to include.
The EU Commission has published a communication on the challenges facing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020. A copy of that paper is available at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/
The submission form is available at this link.
In the explanatory documents provided by the department, which break down the key headings for consultation, the department highlights Ireland’s commitments to reducing carbon emissions and the potential importance of forestry on farmland for carbon capture (sequestration).
However the document lists the current afforestation policy as an environmental gain, the IWT would advise that submissions clarify that native, biodiverse native woodlands and other high nature-value habitat types should be prioritised over single-species non-native plantation forests of sitka spruce or lodgepole pine.
As the IWT policy on forestry states: “Native forests provide an amenity resource, filter and clean water, help prevent flooding by slowing the flow of water off land, sequester and store carbon, provide opportunities for direct income (timber, wild food foraging, tourism) and are of immense biodiversity value. Plantations, on the other hand, pollute water courses, provide no amenity or habitat value, and contribute to flooding during harvesting.”