The National Trust:
- Welcomes Government’s commitment to funding existing agri-environment schemes and new agreements signed before the Autumn Statement in November.
- Would press Government to honour all agreements in the pipeline and continue support for new agri-environment schemes beyond the Autumn Statement.
- Calls on Government to put the natural environment at the heart of any new system of farm support – as well as the transition to that new system.
A National Trust spokesperson said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to continue with funding for newly agreed and existing agri-environment schemes. But set against this is the continued uncertainty should new applications be restricted beyond this autumn. This would put at serious risk decades of effort by farmers and organisations like ours to protect and enhance our countryside.
“Farmers need certainty as we move to a more sustainable model of support for farming which puts the recovery and resilience of the natural environment at its heart. Better funded and more widely available agri-environment schemes would offer a ‘bridge’ between the old and the new, helping farmers prepare for a future of new market opportunities whilst delivering greater public benefits from public money.
“The National Trust is calling for a system that increases the benefit to the public of a beautiful, natural environment rich in nature and wildlife and that secures the long term health and productivity of the land on which our farming depends. We want to work hand-in-hand with farmers, the UK Government and devolved administrations, and other stakeholders to secure this fundamentally different approach to land; one that offers a good deal for taxpayers whilst achieving a truly sustainable and thriving countryside in the twenty first century.”
We believe that protecting the natural environment should be at the heart of any farming subsidy system post-Brexit. In a speech earlier this month, National Trust Director-General, Dame Helen Ghosh, called for a system that helps secure the long term health and productivity of the land on which our farming depends. For more: https://ntpressoffice.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/national-trust-calls-for-major-reforms-of-farming-subsides-post-brexit-to-reverse-the-damage-to-the-natural-environment/.
In August the National Trust and seven other wildlife and farming organisations wrote to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury asking his department to commit to existing and new agri-environment schemes.