Traditional orchards, many of which contain local and rare varieties of trees, are safe from threat of being grubbed up’ after a campaign by English Nature
Photo: © Common Ground
Alistair Rutherford of English Nature explained that; ‘Particularly in areas such as Herefordshire and Kent they have often been in existence for hundreds of years and are very important for biodiversity.’
Traditionally orchards have also been used for grazing, but the subsidy for grazing land was removed because they were classified as orchards under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Orchards do not receive subsidies. Since the CAP reform in June last year, a number of traditional orchards have been grubbed up, as farmers complied with the regulations in order to be eligible for the much needed subsidy.
Alarmed at the loss, English Nature have campaigned to persuade DEFRA to be more proactive in fighting to save these important sites and EU regulations have been amended to include a special dual use clause for traditional orchards.
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