Knowledge for better food systems

High ground, high potential: a future for England's upland communities

This report, published in 2010 by the Commission for Rural Communities, argues that the English uplands are landscapes that provide a wealth of natural and cultural assets and have potential to generate many valuable public goods and market products, supporting a low carbon future and green economy.
This report, published in 2010 by the Commission for Rural Communities, argues that the English uplands are landscapes that provide a wealth of natural and cultural assets and have potential to generate many valuable public goods and market products, supporting a low carbon future and green economy. Unlocking that potential requires government to work with and support local communities and land managers. In particular this means empowering communities, increasing the supply of affordable housing, particularly for young people, and improving access to next generation broadband and mobile communications. Current support for hill farming is inadequate to sustain these assets. New funding mechanisms are required as part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy from 2013. These would reward farmers for managing national assets in harmony with developing businesses. A new approach is needed which would balance the needs of the environment with maximising the economic potential of the uplands. But supporting farmers is not sufficient on its own: the communities in which they are embedded must also be enabled to thrive if these assets are to be sustained. Key recommendations are as follows:
  • Government should develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy for England’s uplands
  • The Government should appoint an individual with lead responsibility for implementing the strategy. This individual should be accountable to Ministers of BIS, CLG, DECC and Defra.
  • Current funding mechanisms will not unlock the potential of the uplands and as part of the CAP reform in 2013 and 2020, Defra and its agencies (and the EU) should develop a new approach to rewarding farmers for managing national assets in harmony with developing businesses and market enterprises.
  • Defra should establish a long term land management policy to mitigate carbon loss, particularly in relation to peatlands management.
  • DECC and CLG should require local authorities to complete an audit of the opportunities for renewable energy.
You can download the report and the press release here.
 

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