Agriculture Bill must deliver on Govt promise of greener Post-Brexit farming system
The government’s Agriculture Bill – which is expected to be published on Wednesday 12 September – must deliver on Michael Gove’s pledge to encourage farmers to “enhance the environment and invest in sustainable food production”, says Friends of the Earth . The environmental campaign group says government plans must include:
• A new payment system to encourage farmers to preserve, protect and enhance the environment – and discourage activities that cause harm; • The creation of new schemes that boost our natural environment, support rural communities and improve animal welfare, public health and public access to the countryside; • A requirement on ministers to develop and adopt targets to ensure environmental benefits are actually delivered. This must include a commitment to set an ambitious target for pesticide reduction and increase the amount of farmland under organic production. • A commitment to maintain and strengthen existing environmental regulations and principles after Brexit – these must underpin the new farming policy.
Friends of the Earth nature campaigner Sandra Bell said: “The government’s agriculture bill must deliver on Michael Gove’s promise for a post-Brexit farming policy which protects and enhances our natural environment.”
“The bill must set clear environmental targets, including a commitment to significantly reduce pesticide-use, a key driver of wildlife decline. “For far too long tax-payers money has been used to reward land-ownership or food production – with too little regard for the environmental impact.
“Working with nature is the best way to safeguard the long-term future of our food – as innovative farmers across the UK are already finding to their benefit.”
Friends of the Earth is also calling on the government to ensure farmers are properly protected from unfair buying practices by supermarkets and food manufacturers. Sandra Bell said: “The Government must ensure fairness in the supply chain - farmers should get a fair payment in the market place for the food they produce.” ENDS
Notes to editors:
1. Once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape future farming policy | Defra: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/once-in-a-generation-opportunity-to-shape-future-farming-policy 2. Briefing: Why pesticide reduction must be part of UK’s new farming policy: www.friendsoftheearth.uk/nature/agriculture-bill-why-pesticide-reduction-must-be-part-uks-new-farming-policy