EU agricultural payments should be used to improve opportunities for walking

Walker with cows

With agreement recently reached on reforms to the EU-wide system of payments to farmers and land managers – the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – we want Defra ministers to ensure this public money is used to the greatest public benefit to open up and protect the countryside.

EU member states have some flexibility on how they implement the CAP proposals and we believe it’s crucial Defra take the opportunity to make sure agricultural payments are used to improve access to the countryside, promote outdoor recreation and protect the rural environment.

“Now the EU has come to an agreement, it’s Defra’s turn to ensure that they implement CAP reform in a way which benefits people and the natural environment” says Kate Conto, Ramblers Senior Policy Officer.

“Providing good quality public access can help to boost tourism and rural economies - and is good for the health and wellbeing of the nation too” continues Kate. “The funds should be used to encourage farmers and landowners to support outdoor recreation.”

We’ll be lobbying ministers over the coming months to encourage them to see the payments are used to invest in our rural infrastructure in a way that opens up new parts of the countryside to walkers and other outdoor users with easy to use and well promoted paths.