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The government’s new agriculture announcement will frustrate farmers and not help nature fast enough

The government announced its agricultural transition plan after the Agriculture Act received royal approval. The law was heralded as a fresh start to deviate from the widely condemned EU-wide common agricultural policy.

We hoped that this announcement would bring quick, positive changes to our natural world and to tackling the climate crisis as agriculture accounts for 70% of land use. However, we are concerned that the announcement promises more years of discussion instead.

Craig Bennett, executive director of The Wildlife Trusts, says:

“We are deeply concerned that the pilots that make up a large part of government announcements simply cannot deliver on the promise that nature will be in better shape. The announcement will frustrate farmers and each and every one of us fed up with the steep declines in wildlife that is reported with such excruciating regularity. Four years after the EU referendum, we still lack the detail and clarity about how agriculture funding will benefit the public. This is urgently needed so that farms can plan and equally important so that nature’s recreation can be planned alongside their work. The existing countryside stewardship programs that we encourage all land managers to review have not been enough to reverse the decline of nature.

Yellowhammer, Copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries

“The ongoing demise of the natural world is bad for us all. The free services that nature offers us are under great pressure. Pollinators continue to decline, soils are further degraded and biodiversity continues to plummet. The common agricultural policy has devastated our wildlife while causing profound problems in farming communities by affecting rents and production. We can’t just talk to each other for the next few years; Nature needs the help of this government and we cannot afford to waste any more time.

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