HC Deb 21 July 2004 vol 424 c255W
Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what additional assistance will be available for orchards following the introduction of single farm payment; and if she will make a statement. [183830]

Alun Michael

The Commission has confirmed that it will carry over into the single payment scheme land in dual use such as traditional grazed orchards to be considered as forage rather than orchard land, subject to some conditions still to be clarified, and so that they qualify for payments. We are in the process of drafting detailed guidelines for the application of this guidance with the assistance of English Nature and the Forestry Commission.

Subject to approval by the European Commission, grants to farmers and other land managers for the conservation and restoration of traditional orchards will also be available under the new Environmental Stewardship Scheme, which is to replace the Countryside Stewardship and Environmentally Sensitive Areas Schemes in 2005.