3,100 Hectares of Moorland and Adjacent Farmland to be Designated SSSI

Posted on: 11th November 2022

3,100 Hectares of moorland and adjacent farmland to be Designated SSSI in West Penwith. See my News Post for details

Photo of cotton grass, one of the species needing protection; taken by me a few years back

Whilst we must do all we can to prevent further species loss, the dilemma is for our farmers’ who need to earn a living from feeding us. I’m not going to pretend I fully understand their situation but a number of Farmers’ have spoken to me and, if I’ve got it right, they may not be able to use Lime or other nutrients they feel they need to run their farm in a viable way. I am unclear whether moving toward herbal lays would be an alternative (maybe more expensive) approach but what is clear, they are not being given the information or money to help them adjust to the changes they need to make.

With the disarray of our Government, farm payments since Brexit have not been properly agreed, with several different options seemingly doing the rounds. Again, if I am understanding things correctly, under the old farm payments scheme, if your farm was in a SSSI, it would make you eligible for Higher Stewardship Level payments, which would be higher payments per acre for those parts of the farm affected, in recognition they will cost you more to farm or you will not be able to farm them in such a productive way. Logic says something similar will arrive but, if you are struggling to make ends meet today, the promise of jam probably tomorrow is not much comfort.

Town Council are going to discuss this Designation at its meeting on 28 November as, just like with Planning Applications, we are a consultee. I will do my best to ensure I am as informed as I can be and Chair a fair debate, looking at the proposals from all angles.