This is an archived press release
Tuesday 25 May 2004
25 May 2004
AUTHORITY STILL WANTS A BETTER DEAL FOR NATIONAL PARK FARMING
The Peak District National Park Authority has pledged to continue pressing its concerns for local farming, after the Government agreed to amend its proposals for a new national system of farm payments.
Last month the Authority warned the Government that plans to gradually phase in a new payments system could see the income of many Peak District farmers cut by up to 75%, leading to a severe impact on National Park communities and countryside.
Upland grassland farmers - mainly in the White Peak and limestone plateau along with parts of Staffordshire Moorlands and Cheshire - would have been particularly hard hit.
Under the revised scheme announced by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, many Peak District farmers would still receive lower payments than lowland farmers even though they are helping to look after some of England's finest countryside.
However, the Government has promised to look at other ways to boost the well-being of upland communities, for example through a rural development programme.
Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, Tony Hams, said: "We were very concerned that the original proposals would have led to a major decline in income for many Peak District upland grassland farmers - and that would have reduced the amount spent on maintaining the countryside.
"The amended scheme goes some way to resolving our concerns, but would still result in a reduction in income for many. We are pleased that the Government has recognised this and has promised to explore other ways to address the needs of the uplands. We will continue to work with other National Park Authorities, conservation and farming organisations to press for more equitable resources for our farms and our environment."