New CAP rules require that large arable farmers ensure that five per cent of their land is set aside as an ecological focus area (EFA). The Government has caused controversy by deciding that one of the five options available to farmers to meet the crops will be planting nitrogen fixing crops such as field beans and peas.
Environmental groups argued that this would bring no wildlife benefits, while the RSPB branded the policy 'a wasted opportunity for the environment'. However, Defra minister Owen Paterson defended it in terms of the imperative of food security. For the NFU Meurig Raymond said that it represented 'a pragmatic solution to a very difficult situation.' In other words, smart lobbying by the NFU.