1st May 2015

Ahead of today’s Adjournment Debate in Parliament on Upland Farming, Friends of the Lake District, the only membership organisation helping to protect and enhance Cumbria’s amazing landscapes, has been briefing Cumbrian MPs.

Douglas Chalmers, Director of Friends of the Lake District said, “The Uplands, such a significant part of our Cumbrian landscape, have been debated for many, many years, and the problems they face not only remain but are becoming more acute. “On a knife edge” sounds so dramatic, but I do not think that this is an overstatement in this case.

“There remains a general lack of understanding of how the Uplands work, how much society benefits in so many ways, and of the constraints faced by those who manage these areas.

“They are very special areas, but they should not be thought of as simply areas for farms and tourists. The benefits they provide include food, biodiversity, woodlands, renewable energy, climate change mitigation and both built and cultural heritage. Our farmers are getting older, many farming families have no identified successor, and they face economic, political, climatic and environmental constraints.

“Our Uplands are a major part of Cumbria’s physical environment, and they are managed to provide many different types of output. It would be impossible to imagine our county if we lost this, and the economic, environmental and social consequences are unthinkable.

“The best and most cost-effective way of managing the Uplands is by our farmers, and we must find mechanisms that properly reward them for all their efforts and help secure their future.”