Moorland farmers to be paid more from next year

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LANDOWNERS have claimed victory after a decision to increase payments to moorland farmers.

Farmers across the Yorkshire Dales, Dartmoor and the Lake District will receive around £26 more a hectare under Common Agriculture Policy payments from next year, bringing the total to around £56 a hectare.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said moorland farmers played “a vital role in managing some our most treasured landscapes”.

He added: “This payment increase will help farmers maintain our moorlands and deliver a significant boost for tourism and the rural economy in these areas.”

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) had campaigned for increased payments for moorland farms, arguing that it would make a significant difference to those farming in some of the harshest areas of England.

CLA president Henry Robinson said: “This is a victory for the CLA and its upland members.

“Analysis has shown that farm business incomes in moorland areas will increase significantly if there is an uplift in payments under the implementation of Common Agricultural Policy reform.”

Mr Robinson added: “The impact of taking a few pounds per hectare from lowland farmers provides an additional £30 per hectare for farmers in moorland areas.

“It will make a huge difference to the viability of farms and businesses in the most challenging landscapes.

“Farms in moorland areas have significant environmental, economic and social value and this analysis underlines the need for support to be given to them.

“We welcome the Environment Secretary’s decision. Now farmers in upland areas will have more certainty about the incomes post-2015.”