In February, the Government launched a public consultation entitled Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a green Brexit to receive feedback on its proposals for agriculture and land management following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
There has been mixed reaction to the policy paper, with some critics saying that it seems more concerned with the environment and animal welfare than the production of food.
For example, former Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron pointed out that the UK is becoming increasingly less self-sufficient, importing 48 per cent of its food up from 41 per cent in 2010.
However, environmental and animal welfare groups have welcomed the chance to have their say in the consultation. The Cheshire Wildlife Trust, for example, has urged its members to make their views known, with a spokeswoman saying that many areas of the UK’s native wildlife are in decline due to changes in how land is managed.
She added that farming has a huge role to play in securing high quality water, preserving healthy soils, reducing the contribution we make to climate change, and, critically, restoring the UK’s wildlife.
Generally, the top three priorities for Wildlife Trusts are ensuring farmers and land managers are rewarded for the environmental benefits they bring to society, ensuring that organisations are supported with the transition from the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and encouraging change in the culture of regulation, so that it becomes easy for farmers to help nature and reduce risk to wildlife.
The consultation closes on 8 May.