Farmers Warn Environment Protection Scheme Falls Short

Farmers have called for tougher policies as the government's 'post-Brexit agriculture scheme falls short of the protection which is urgently needed to safeguard the UK environment.

Michael Gove’s agricultural bill is the backbone for his green Brexit plan, but farmers claim it is falling short of providing long-terms protection for the UK, and this comes after Gove addressed two major farming conferences in Oxford.

Slurry Spreading

Laying out his plans for protecting public goods, the environment secretary plans to improve water and air quality, as well as hoping to restore habitats. Martin Lines, an arable farmer and chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network – which was founded a year ago due to devastating wildlife loss, soil depletion and water pollution (linked to industrial farming), expressed his concerns and stated that he was not reassured by the pre-announcements – well, it’s not gaming sites we’re talking about here, it’s the future of the UK environment! Speaking to the Independent, Lines said;

“He’s saying a lot but there’s not enough detail. We are getting public pay for public good, but for those farmers that choose not to engage with that policy, how are we going to manage the rest of that landscape? Poor farming practices need to be challenged and changed – any farmer that is delivering poor practices needs help and support in changing their farming methods.”

Gove promised that standards would not be allowed to slip, but not everyone is convinced. If steps are not taken, environmental degradation could affect food production. Mr Lines hopes that the government will take to the post-Brexit trade deals; the protection of animal welfare and continue to enforce environmental standards.

Echoing Concerns

Sue Hayman, the shadow environment secretary described Michael Gove’s comments as “totally meaningless”. This comes after months of rumours, which could see the UK making deals with nations with far lower standards than we would allow, such as chlorine-washed chickens and other products which are banned in this country.

But Gove insists that being free from the EU will allow our farming and environment to thrive, just before admitting that leaving with a no-deal Brexit would have the opposite effect. He added;

“We can move to support genuine productivity enhancement and public goods like clean air, climate change mitigation or the improvement of soil, or water quality or improvements to pollinator habitats. These real gains risk being undermined if we leave the EU without a deal.”


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