The Sustainable Food Trust (SFT) welcomes the inclusion of the Environment and Agriculture Bill in today’s Queen’s Speech. However, the SFT would urge the government to think carefully about how farmers receive government payments in the future, prioritising a harmonised approach to food production and nature conservation.

Agriculture is one of the major causes of global warming and biodiversity loss. The SFT believes a major shift in farm policy is needed to support sustainable food production. When the Basic Payment Scheme ends, the SFT would like to see the money go to supporting a transition to more sustainable food production, not to more green frills round the edges of unsustainable production which is currently the main thrust of the draft legislation.

Patrick Holden, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Food Trust said, “While we support the principle of public money for public goods, we are concerned by the lack of evidence that Defra is taking a truly joined-up approach to developing future policy. What we need is the integration of food production and nature conservation.”

“What we do not want is an expansion of the current countryside stewardship schemes which have had the impact of separating nature conservation from food production and have dramatically increased agricultural pollution and wildlife decline. The only way to change this is to encourage the production of home-produced food and ensure this is done in harmony with nature.”

Read more about farming and Brexit policy here.

Photograph: UK Parliament

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