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Country News - 2005

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"Green" farming shambles, says NFU

Tuesday 05 July 2005

THE Government's flagship plans to convert Britain to more environmentally friendly farming are in a state of shambles because of computer software problems, the National Farmers' Union claimed yesterday.

As the Government's war on the notorious EU Common Agricultural Policy warms up, one of its key weapons is supposed to the entry-level environmental stewardship scheme, which should pay farmers £12 an acre for reducing production and, instead, turning over land to landscape- and wildlife-friendly areas.

But at the NFU claimed yesterday that less then than a tenth of farmers applying to join - 2,400 from 28,000 - had actually been accepted because of software glitches which deleted whole fields from the map - or included land owned by neighbours.

This is the latest in a long series of Government IT disasters, which have caused havoc in many national agencies and have cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds.


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