Ru­ral sup­port fea­tures at event

The Oban Times - - Farming -

THE fu­ture of agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment sup­port, post-2020, has been dis­cussed as a spe­cial round-ta­ble event in Ed­in­burgh.

Or­gan­ised by Scot­tish Land and Es­tates and Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Link, a range of stake­hold­ers – in­clud­ing the Scot­tish Govern­ment and or­gan­i­sa­tions rep­re­sent­ing farm­ing, land man­age­ment, ru­ral econ­omy, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, forestry and land­scape in­ter­ests – at­tended the meet­ing.

The event was aimed at ‘hav­ing an open and hon­est con­ver­sa­tion on the var­i­ous per­spec­tives with a view to iden­ti­fy­ing com­mon themes and dif­fer­ences’.

Con­sul­tant agri­cul­tural econ­o­mist An­drew Moxey set the scene by out­lin­ing why Brexit mat­ters for the ru­ral land-based econ­omy as well as de­tail­ing other fac­tors which would lead to changes to ru­ral sup­port be­ing re­quired any­way. Dr Moxey also set out where var­i­ous ma­jor stake­hold­ers are po­si­tion­ing them­selves in the on­go­ing de­bate.

Anne Gray, se­nior pol­icy of­fi­cer (land use and en­vi­ron­ment), said: ‘We were pleased, along­side Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Link, to or­gan­ise what we hope will be the first of many round-ta­ble events to dis­cuss ru­ral sup­port in Scot­land af­ter Brexit.

‘Each or­gan­i­sa­tion is for­mu­lat­ing its own thoughts on what it wants to see ru­ral Scot­land de­liver af­ter Brexit and that ob­vi­ously means there are dif­fer­ent start­ing points for each stake­holder. The na­ture of the event al­lowed hon­est dis­cus­sion to take place and es­tab­lish where there are clear dif­fer­ences and where there is con­sen­sus that can be built upon mov­ing for­ward.’

Pete Ritchie, from Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Link, said: ‘Ev­ery­body knows the CAP is no longer fit for pur­pose - or sure of its pur­pose - but de­sign­ing some­thing for the post-2020 world which works bet­ter than the CAP for Scot­land’s land, health, na­ture and ru­ral econ­omy is harder than it looks.

‘It has been very help­ful to bring a wide range of stake­hold­ers to­gether to start that con­ver­sa­tion. Link looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, build­ing on com­mon ground and ex­plor­ing dif­fer­ences re­spect­fully. Thanks to all who took part.’

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