Warning over birds at risk on farms

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The Independent Online
Wildlife experts today go to Brussels with a blunt warning that only a shake-up in farming policy can halt the decline in the bird population.

The skylark and the lapwing were once common sights on fields in Britain and on the Continent. But pesticides and the practice of ploughing-under have killed flocks and destroyed nest sites, resulting in drastically falling populations. Officials from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will meet Franz Fischler, the EU Commissioner, to warn him that falling numbers in bird populations on farmland signal the need for environmentally friendly objectives at the heart of Common Agricultural Policy reform. The RSPB says the EU's plans for improving the situation are too weak.