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NEWS RELEASE                           
11th November 2003

Haskins delivers half the solution

Where is the integration in the proposed new ‘integrated' land management agency? asks the Country Land and Business Association, responding to today's publication of Lord Haskins' rural policy review.

CLA President Mark Hudson says: "While landowners and farmers are planting trees for the 22nd century, the Government only seems to be sowing seeds for the next election. If Government is serious about delivering to the countryside, it needs to go the whole hog and integrate economic with environmental policy. Instead Haskins is proposing a new agency that is little more than English Nature by another name.

"In all the scare stories about the loss of an independent environment body, people have forgotten that it is those living in the countryside who deliver the Government's environmental objectives. Landowners and farmers not only manage the land, but have to find a way to pay for the conservation and regulatory requirements placed upon them.

"Yet again, policymakers have neglected the economic foundation underpinning environmental delivery. The objectives for the new land management agency should be to foster the social and economic well-being of rural communities, who in turn will deliver the environment people want. A flourishing rural economy pays for conservation - not the other way round.

"While we welcome Lord Haskins' efforts to improve rural policy delivery, his proposals appear to be unnecessarily complicated when they should be simplifying policy delivery and reducing bureaucracy and duplication."

Notes to the Editor:

Mark Hudson can be contacted on office number 0207 460 7931 or through Jenny Gimpel, CLA Press Officer, tel: 020 7460 7936, mobile: 07855 788 985, email: jenny.gimpel@cla.org.uk.

Lord Haskins' review of rural delivery arrangements was published today (11 Nov 2003). The review was commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and can be obtained through DEFRA's website at www.defra.gov.uk.