FACE position on Greening under the next CAP

I. Overview

FACE is asking for a new ‘biodiversity’ instrument to improve the Greening component of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In short, this biodiversity instrument would:

  • Establish an entry-level measure for farmers, which would permit them to dedicate part of their farmland to non-productive use for biodiversity only; 
  • Enable the farmer to dedicate a minimum measurable area of farmland for biodiversity in accordance with specific land type/use characteristics, agreed at national level;
  • Require national administrative structures to be adapted to ensure that this measure is simple and well-understood.

II. Introduction

European hunters are aware that the CAP is a crucial support mechanism for agriculture and rural areas in Europe. However, the CAP has a significant impact on the environment, biodiversity and the status of many huntable species in Europe. Most small game populations have decreased due to intense agricultural practices (dramatic loss of quality habitat and food, with poor insect abundance) and the utilisation of unsustainable agricultural production methods. The impact is similar in many protected areas . The role of farming in Europe is mainly to ensure the sustainable provision of sufficient amounts of high quality food in terms of nutrients and health, but also to develop the economy and offer a diversity of landscapes and biodiversity. 

III. Problem: Current Greening measures are not effective 

It has become evident that current Greening measures  do not have a significant positive impact on farmland biodiversity . Furthermore, they can often represent an additional administrative burden for farmers and authorities. In this context, FACE is asking for a more effective Greening instrument in the next CAP to ensure agriculture’s coherence with other existing EU policies such as the nature directives, the Water Framework Directive, the Nitrates Directive, etc.

IV. Reform of Greening 
FACE proposes a more environmentally-friendly and simpler instrument to replace greening in the next CAP (post 2020):  
  • This biodiversity measure would be established at farm level proportional to the amount of the actual area dedicated to non-productive use. 
  • This measure would include a ban on the use of chemical inputs, tillage or cropping in the dedicated biodiversity areas that is not strictly needed for the achievement of biodiversity goals. 
  • Cooperation should also be promoted between stakeholders to reach the desired ecological and socio-economic objectives. 
  • The design at national level should be regionalised and Members States should consult with hunters and other relevant local stakeholders to ensure that measures are adapted to local socio-economic and ecological specificities.
  • Agri-environmental schemes can and should complement this ‘biodiversity’ measure.

This instrument is simple for farmers and beneficial for biodiversity.