The Agricultural Bill received its Royal Assent in Parliament today - 11 November 2020. Read our reaction.
Rosie Hails, Nature and Science Director at the National Trust says: “This is the most important piece of farming legislation for decades and we particularly welcome the Government’s commitment to begin the transition to the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme next year. This will play a critical part in helping meet the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Government’s net zero carbon target by 2050. The principle of public money for public goods at the Act’s heart provides an opportunity to put sustainable farming, nature, landscape and the enhancement of our countryside at the core of land management, making sure farmers and land managers are properly rewarded for the public benefits that managing the countryside can deliver alongside producing food. However, the onus is now on Government to deliver and there needs to be more clarity around the long-term objectives and funding for the ELM scheme, as well as more detail on how regulation and the wider package of farming policies can complement and sustain this new direction. The current proposals appear to offer short term benefits with little thought of how to sustain the changes long term, so there is a danger of repeating the mistakes made under CAP. Now that the legal basis has been set, all eyes will be on the government to ensure that reality matches the ambition that we’ve heard about.”