Birds, bees, and butterflies suffer as Brexit farming promises broken today - The Wildlife Trusts

River by Gemma de Gouveia
River by Gemma de Gouveia

Rescue rivers, wildlife and climate faster say three largest nature charities

Today the Government published details of its eagerly awaited scheme to pay farmers for managing land more sustainably, restoring nature and tackling climate change. It comes on the first anniversary of the Agriculture Act – it is a significant moment revealing the extent of the Government’s ambition to improve the 70% of our land that is farmed since Brexit and our departure from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

But today’s announcement is a huge disappointment, say the UK’s three largest nature charities, and does not bode well for nature, climate, or farming.

The Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and RSPB are deeply concerned that the Government is failing to come up with an ambitious scheme, undermining their ability to boost nature-friendly farming. They believe that promises made by Government in its 25-year environment plan are now in jeopardy.

The Government has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform farming from being a leading cause of declines in UK wildlife to playing a central role in nature’s recovery.

Instead of causing air and river pollution, nature-friendly farming can help clean up our countryside and reverse the UK’s label of being one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world to a shining example where nature is in recovery. That vision is now in peril.

Farming accounts for more than 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, so transformation is also critical to help tackle the climate emergency.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “After leaving the EU, we were promised that the billions of pounds of taxpayer’s money given to farmers would be used to improve our natural world. But today’s publication shows a shocking lack of ambition which does very little to address the climate and nature crises. The Government seems intent on perpetuating the iniquities of the EU’s much derided Common Agricultural Policy. Worse still, nature-friendly farmers look set to lose out too. There’s so much that farmers could be rewarded for doing, such as restoring peatlands and employing ambitious measures to prevent soil and pollutants from washing into rivers – to help wildlife and store carbon. It’s an absolute scandal that the Government has failed to seize this unique and important opportunity to improve farming so it can help restore nature and address the climate crisis.”

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Posted On: 02/12/2021

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