Rory Teams up with Tim Farron MP to Address Understocking of Fellsides

This morning, Cumbrian MPs Rory and Tim, as representatives of the Hill Farming APPG, met with Chair of Natural England, Poul Christensen, to discuss Natural England’s work within the uplands and the future of support for hill farmers.

At the meeting Rory and Tim congratulated Natural England for its recent change in attitude towards the uplands following the decision to drop the former ‘uplands vision’ programme, as well as their improving flexibility towards uplands farmers.

The MPs also pressed Mr Christensen for more concrete action on under stocking of our fellsides, arguing that farmers’ voices are still not being heard enough, and want more clarity on the economy and future of the Lake District.

Rory said: “I am delighted to be working with Tim on this issue. I do think we are in danger of destroying our fellsides and our sheep industry if we continue in the long-term to reduce and reduce stocking levels. Uplands farmers are at the very heart of the industry, and of an area that we and millions of visitors love.

“I hope this is the first of many meetings that we have with Natural England to ensure a more ‘sheep-friendly’ long-term strategy.”

Tim said: “It was extremely useful to meet with Poul today and to hear about Natural England’s future plans for the uplands.

“I am pleased to be working with Rory to ensure that both Natural England and the Government recognise that it is absolutely vital that the stewardship schemes do not essentially bribe hill farmers to reduce their animal stocks in order receive funding. This would be bad for the landscape, bad for tourism and bad for the local economy.”

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