Future of the natural environment after the EU referendum – today’s EAC report

Today’s Environmental Audit Committee’s report on the future of the natural environment after the European Union referendum is a welcome addition to the debate on post-Brexit land policy.

Welsh Black cow and calf amongst the cottongrass on Hafod Y Llan farm, Snowdonia, Wales. ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Welsh Black cow and calf amongst the cottongrass on Hafod Y Llan farm, Snowdonia, Wales. ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee today released its report following its inquiry into the future of the natural environment after the EU referendum. Our Rural Enterprises Director, Patrick Begg, gave evidence to the Committee, and today welcomes their recommendations.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redraw how we support farming and conservation in this country. We want a post-Brexit policy developed in partnership with farmers and conservationists, which incentivises farming that provides wider benefits for us all – wildlife, landscape, reducing flooding and improving soils – alongside healthy, top class food.

“From the 1990s onward changes to the Common Agricultural Policy have slowed nature’s decline. What happens next will decide whether we reverse that decline.

“Farming and nature conservation go hand in hand. It makes no sense for Defra to insist on separating their natural environment and farming plans. Outside the Westminster bubble, farmers and conservationists have known for years that the two issues should be integrated. Were Defra to bring the two plans together it would mean a better outcome for nature and farming.”

We’re part of the Greener UK coalition of environmental organisations who have united to call on Government to protect and enhance the UK’s natural environment during post-Brexit policy discussions, the years of transition out of the EU, and beyond.

The environment is integral to the long-term needs of our economy and society. Nature’s challenges don’t stop at borders and many require international solutions. Today’s report is a good step forward for these discussions.

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