The EU debate continues and two recent conferences have underlined the environmental benefit of EU legislation over the last 30 years. Of course the Quantocks and other AONBs have benefited from this legislation but their creation and support is mostly due to UK legislation and decisions, and we are fortunate to have a government that values protected landscapes, while it is EU money through the Stewardship schemes that pays for a lot of important work on the commons. A recent survey by the Farmers Weekly showed a significant majority in favour of Brexit, which no doubt reflects farmer’s dissatisfaction with the way the CAP is conceived and administered. Farmers play a pivotal role in the maintenance of the hills, both on the common and the surrounding farmland and their views are important to us.
So, is ‘In’ or ‘Out’ best for our hills? Frankly we can’t say, there are too many unknowns, but what is very clear is that whichever way the vote goes it will be vitally important to have a strong independent voice speaking out for our hills. That is the role of Friends of Quantock.