Green EU Reforms Could Hurt Environment

According to a report by the British House of Commons, new European Union agricultural regulations that encourage green farming could hurt the economy and even cause damage to the environment.

The problem, the House of Common’s Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee says, is that the proposed EU agricultural policies are too restrictive and inflexible and would impose the same farm regulations on farmers from Finland to Greece.

The regulations in question would require farmers to meet new standards for biodiversity, would require farmers to maintain permanent pastureland, and would mandate that farmers set aside 7 percent of their land as uncultivated ecological space.

The problem with these policies, the House of Commons report claims, is that the one size fits all approach would fail to adequately protect the environment. The biodiversity rule, for example, which would require farmers to grow at least three different crops on their lands, would be less beneficial to the local ecology than current crop rotation practices.

In addition, the rule mandating the protection of pastureland by 2014 would encourage many farmers to plow up pastures before the deadline is reached. Finally, the ecological land mandate would be imposed on a farm-by-farm basis, meaning that ecological zones would be created without considering larger national and regional wildlife habitats.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer