Proposals for CAP rules on permanent pasture raise concerns

The European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) has just published a leaflet outlining farming and conservation organisations' fears and proposals concerning the current CAP rules on permanent pasture and those being considered for 2014 - 2020.

This short leaflet explains that the EU's current definition of permanent pasture is narrow as it only refers to herbaceous forage i.e. 'grass'. As a result vast areas of actively grazed land with trees and shrubs are not eligible for CAP support. There are 'exceptions' for example heather moorland in the UK is eligible but the EU guidance makes clear that this derogation is an 'exception' and the Auditors will be increasingly rigid in applying the rules. In Ireland and Scotland, farmers are being advised to remove or cut back semi-natural features of the pastoral landscape that are considered 'ineligible' by the Auditors, including patches of gorse and wide hedges (if in doubt, cut it out)

Non-herbaceous permanent pasture provides essential forage in many extensive livestock systems, especially in more marginal regions. They also provide multiple ecosystems services including some of Europe's most bio- diverse habitats, reducing fire risks, maintaining open landscapes and cultural heritage. The leaflet sets out proposals for changing the definition of permanent pastures and the eligibility criteria. The Foundation for Common Land strongly endorses these proposals.

To link to the EFNCP page which talks more about the issue and has other reports, including some country case studies click

To read the full leaflet click here