Monday, 8 January 2018

Planning ahead for a green Brexit

Farming is one of the backbones of the community here in Northumberland, and I welcome the recent speech at the Oxford Farming Conference by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, in which he gave much-needed clarification about farming after Brexit.

Farmers will receive payments for public goods, such as opening up access to the countryside, enhancing the environment and planting meadows, as part of plans to replace EU subsidies. Subsidies at the current EU level will be guaranteed until the 2022 election, after which there will be a transitional period in England. Farmers are currently unable to claim subsidies specifically for improving public access under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, so this new policy will ensure a fairer and more efficient system to encourage farmers to open up access.

The Government’s agriculture plans will be published in the spring, but I am pleased that farmers have been given some much-needed information about life after Brexit. The news that farmers will be paid for how they use their land, rather than how much of it they own, is a sensible and welcome announcement, signalling the Government’s plan for a green Brexit.