11th December 2013

The Government will shortly make its crucial decision on how the UK's allocation of Common Agricultural Policy funds is spent. These are important choices about the extent of Government support for farmers who do most for the environment and the Government will be deciding whether and how it will ensure that all farmers play their part and work with nature.

This includes whether to move the maximum amount of funding 15% from the budget that supports direct payments to farmers to the rural development pot, which funds agri-environment schemes. Also whether to prioritise agri-environment schemes in the next Rural Development Programme for England.

We, and other members of Wildlife and Countryside Link, understand that the decision is likely to be made around the 19 December. We need to do all we can to ensure that we get the 15% with an increased agri-environment focus.

You can help by writing to your MP on this issue. The Wildlife Trusts have a draft letter below and on their website (click here ) that uyou can use.

All you need to do is copy this and send it to your MP. The more letters an MP receives the more likely they are to act so ask friends and family to write too. There is more information on the Wildlife Trusts campaign here.

Click here to find out your MP's contact details.

To Tweet your MP click here

To make things easier you can 'cut and paste' the template below.


The Government will soon be making important choices on the future of farming in England, as it decides how to implement the reformed Common Agricultural Policy. I am therefore writing to you now to seek your support for a better future for farming, the environment and rural communities at this critical time.

Farmers have made significant commitments to delivering environment schemes in the last 25 years. Across the country agri-environment schemes are bringing species back from the brink by restoring and connecting important habitats. They have brought almost half of the country's remaining hedgerows into good management and have created new homes for bees and other insects. They are also helping to protect rivers and streams from pollution and protecting habitats that store carbon.

I believe it is vital that farmers continue to be rewarded for delivering these important schemes and that funding is allocated to them accordingly. As they are likely to cover 35-40% of the country at best, it is also important that more is done to raise environmental standards across the whole of the farmed landscape.

I would be interested in your views and to know whether you will ask Prime Minister David Cameron to make the following key choices:

- To support Minister Owen Paterson's stated commitment to move the full amount allowed by Europe into the rural development budget for England (referred to as 15% modulation) and to prioritise support for farm environment schemes in this budget;

- To introduce a more flexible national 'greening' scheme for England. This will ensure that the measures proposed by the EU (that farmers will undertake in return for 30% of the direct farm payments they receive), work better for farmers and the environment. For example by focusing on measures that could do more to protect remaining flower-rich grasslands and link habitats across the landscape.

I want the Government to support the most environmentally-friendly farmers so that they can keep up the good work they are doing, but also wish to see more farmers playing their part by working with nature on their farms.

I look forward to hearing from you.

It would be great to hear whether you have been able to contact your MP about this. Please drop an email to Abi Mcloughlin to let us know (amcloughlin@bats.org.uk) or tweet us @_BCT_ #farmingwithnature.