UK Government unveils path to sustainable farming from 2021.
Plans to deliver a better, fairer farming system in England have been set out by the UK government.
The roadmap outlines changes that will come into force over a period of seven years to help farmers adapt and plan for the future. Outside the EU and no longer bound by the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, the plans set out how government plans to introduce a new system that is tailored in the interests of English farmers, centred on support that rewards farmers and land managers for sustainable farming practices.
The ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’, published today, sets out more detail on the changes we are going to make, and what they will mean for farmers.
The key changes include introducing the Environmental Land Management scheme to incentivise sustainable farming practices, create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change.
The Government will also launch a Farming Investment Fund, which will support innovation and productivity. This will open for applications next year and will be used to offer grants for equipment, technology and infrastructure for the future.
The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.
Next year marks the start of the transition where the UK will begin to move away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards new policies that will be co-designed and tested together with farmers, land managers and experts, to ensure that the new systems work for them.
In a speech to farmers and environmental groups at an Oxford Farming Conference OFCBitesize event, Environment Secretary George Eustice, said: "We want farmers to access public money to help their businesses become more productive and sustainable, whilst taking steps to improve the environment and animal welfare, and deliver climate change outcomes on the land they manage."
"Rather than the prescriptive, top down rules of the EU era, we want to support the choices that farmers and land managers take. If we work together to get this right, then a decade from now the rest of the world will want to follow our lead."
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said: "This plan marks an historic shift in the way we manage our land, setting us on course toward the production of sustainable food at the same time as rising to the urgent task if halting and reversing the decline of Nature."
The new roadmap comes a few weeks after the government’s landmark Agriculture Bill passed into law, providing the powers needed to incentivise farmers to make the right environmental choices and help them to make the most of the opportunities available outside of the EU.
Find out more information here.
1 December 2020