Hill and Commonage Farmers
Hill and commonage farmers met with senior officials in the EU Commission in Brussels on Wednesday January 21st as part of the on-going campaign to secure a fair and workable GLAS scheme on commonage lands and on other issues around the implementation of the pillar 2 fund.
It was made crystal clear to the delegation that there are substantial flexibilities available to national Governments and also that is the responsibility of national Governments to adopt suitable measures to create programs that are accessible to all. It was made clear also that it was not the wish of the Commission that barriers are erected so that landowners working environmentally sensitive land which provides a valuable public good, have difficulty accessing schemes.
After meeting the delegation, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan MEP stressed that Minister Coveney and his Department must now listen to and work with the farmers on the ground to implement workable solutions that address legitimate concerns. "It's time that these lands were viewed as a valuable national resource in protecting our biodiversity and in combating our greenhouse gas emissions,' he said. 'This public good needs to be recognised and quantified and the farmers working these lands need to be supported with meaningful schemes. Preventing land abandonment and supporting the family farm is vital in peripheral areas as often it is the mainstay and the foundation for the local economy," he concluded.