From 1st January, a series of changes in the Common Agriculture Policy have been in effect. Agreed on 12th December, the so-called Omnibus was entered into the official EU record on 29th December. These changes are variously described as simplifications or improvements. However, as we’ve outlined, much of what’s been changed is a step backwards, with changes in Ecological Focus Areas to reduce the ecological dimension in particular being problematic. A positive in this regressive legislation is, however, the scope given to member states to define permanent grassland differently. This could well impact positively on upland farming, on High Nature Value farming, or agroforestry; it could reduce scrub fires and make farming more viable in upland areas in general. However momentum would need to develop in member states to encourage this.