MPs criticise Europe over ‘one-size-fits-all’ proposals

A POWERFUL Westminster committee has strongly criticised plans by the European Commission to impose new environmental regulations on farmers across Europe.

According to the environment, food and rural affairs committee, the current plans – part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy – would reduce food production and would more likely harm rather than enhance the environment.

Anne McIntosh MP, committee chairwoman, said: “As they currently stand, the Commission’s proposals to green the CAP would hurt UK farmers, consumers and our countryside. They will reduce food security by taking land out of production and are likely to impact badly on our environment.”

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She added that it was a nonsense to think that farmers from Finland to Sicily should be tied to the same narrow prescriptive rules. “One-size-fits all regulation cannot work across the range of environments found in Europe.”

She said the committee believed the best way to enhance biodiversity and protect the environment was for farmers across Europe to be allowed to manage their landscapes in ways tailored to local farming methods and ecological concerns.

McIntosh said: “We can be proud of what UK farmers have achieved using voluntary schemes that allow them to manage their land in ways that enhance biodiversity and food production, for example by encouraging pollinators.”

MPs also warn that measures proposed by the Commission would be even more complex than the current system, thus adding costly bureaucracy and generating more errors in the system.