A better deal for upland farmers in the North York Moors National Park, has been urged by MP Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Government’s Select Committee on Food, Farming and the Environment.
She told the Federation of Commoners and Tenants Farmers at the park’s headquarters at Helmsley: “It is absolutely essential that the various interests on the moors and the uplands are respected so that neither the graziers on the common land, nor those with shooting rights are disadvantaged.”
Ms McIntosh added: “The success of the reforms to the Commons Agricultural Policy which take effect early next year, will be judged by their impact on Commoners.”
She said that farmers in England who operate within the moorland line, will get some £57 per hectare in direct payments under the new CAP - an increase of 90 per cent on the moorland rate.
“The challenge is to ensure that payments are made on the whole common. Due to the way the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) is calculated, an area representing 20 per cent of the commons does not receive payment under the SPS.”
Sue Ridley, chief officer of the Federation, said the Single Farm Payments were a particular issue with hill farmers and graziers on the moors as well as tenant farmers and landowners.
A key issue on the North York Moors was the under-grazing by sheep flocks which resulted in the growth of bracken and silver birch which damaged the moors.
“For centuries the moorland farmers have protected and created the moors and it is vital that they are appreciated.”