Letter: How green is your valley?

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is no doubt that many aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy have contributed to the intensification and specialisation that has brought so much destruction to the animals and plants of agricultural habitats, yet to abolish the CAP (letter, 28 March) on these grounds would be to leap from the frying pan into the fire. The removal of regulation in favour of the unfettered play of market forces would have devastating consequences not only for farmers and rural communities but also for the people and wildlife of Britain and the rest of Europe.

The problems that we face in conserving agricultural landscapes and their wildlife are Europe-wide, though with distinctive local peculiarities that must be addressed. Agricultural markets are international and biodiversity is an international asset. Animals do not recognise political boundaries. For these reasons, there must be a European dimension to agricultural policy. The CAP needs radical reform, not abolition, to integrate farming with the environment and to help restore our farmland birds and other wildlife.


Director, British Trust for Ornithology

Thetford, Norfolk