The government’s proposed replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy emphasises environmental outcomes over the size of holdings
The Agriculture Bill 2017-19, introduced to parliament on 12 September, will introduce a new Environmental Land Management system from 2019.
In a new policy statement, the government outlines a revolutionary change to UK land management policy that aims to improve environmental outcomes.
The proposed system will replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It is the outcome of a consultation launched earlier this year, Health and Harmony: The Future of Food, Farming and the Environment, to which the LI responded.
In May, LI Policy Manager Ben Brown called for the government to ‘get serious about funding environment outcomes’. He was pleased to see Michael Gove follow through on his green commitments, and the principle of ‘public money for public goods’.
‘This changes the way that public money is spent on land management,’ Ben said. ‘Farmers will no longer receive funding on the basis of the size of their holdings, but on the environmental outcomes they provide.
‘This will obviously have a major effect on those who already manage large-scale rural landscapes – National Parks, for instance. But it will also affect undesignated land, both green belt and non-green belt – anywhere primarily agricultural.’
What outcomes will the government prioritise?
Page 7 of the new policy statement outlines examples of environmental outcomes to be measured:
- air and water quality
- biodiversity protection and enhancement
- climate change adaptation, mitigation and prevention
- inclusive access to land, and contribution to public understanding and enjoyment of nature
- protecting rural heritage and distinctive landscape features
Monitoring the Bill’s progress
As with any new legislation, the Agriculture Bill will need to follow ordinary parliamentary procedures before receiving Royal Assent. The LI will be monitoring the Bill to ensure the best outcome for landscape.
To follow the Bill’s progress through Parliament, visit services.parliament.uk.