Byline: Amanda Brown
PAYING farmers to protect wildlife and the environment should be a priority for future Government spending, according to almost half of the people questioned in a recent survey.
The survey for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, published today shows that 70pc of the public appreciate the countryside for providing places for animals and habitat, whereas only a third, 33pc, value it as a source of much of our food.
Sixty three per cent said they valued it for its recreation and tourism opportunities, and 46pc said that paying farmers to protect wildlife and the environment should be a priority for future Government spending.
The research was commissioned by the RSPB from BMRB and comes as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett, attends the annual National Farmers Union meeting today.
She will be discussing the landmark Food and Farming Policy Commission report launched last week by Sir Don Curry, which recommends that 10pc of agricultural payments should be redirected from food production into supporting environmentally-friendly farming by 2004. …