Rosie Hails, Nature and Science Director at the National Trust says:
“We welcome this new Agriculture Bill as a key tool in delivering practical solutions to the twin nature and climate crises, supporting farmers to restore and sustain our natural environment, in turn securing the sustainable future of farming itself. Without a vibrant, healthy natural environment, the future of food production is at serious risk.
“We particularly welcome the Government’s commitment to a seven-year transition to the new Environmental Land Management system (ELMs) starting in 2021. In a period of uncertainty for the sector it’s key that this schedule is adhered to, giving farmers much-needed clarity to plan for the future.
“The proposed ELM system of public money for public goods is something we have been calling for and should provide an opportunity to put sustainability, wildlife, protecting and nurturing vital soils, improving water quality and flood prevention at the heart of land management. We have trialled this approach with tenant farmers and we know that this model can work. It must however be backed up with good quality advice, and the certainty of long-term funding that matches the scale of ambition in the Bill.
“The new system should also be a key tool in delivering the Government’s net zero ambitions. The Trust has committed to delivering net zero by 2030, which will include collaborative work on our farmed estate and with our tenants. We look forward to working with the Government on this.
“The UK’s high environmental standards must also be reflected in any future trade deal, avoiding a reliance on cheap imports that would undermine our domestic efforts to secure a sustainable future for farming.”