The Countryside Alliance has set out five principles that should be at the heart of a new British agricultural policy to replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
The Government has been consulting on plans to introduce a UK policy framework for agriculture with specific policies for a new system of support in England post Brexit. The devolved administrations have also been consulting on plans for new policies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Government is expected to publish the long-awaited Agriculture Bill shortly and MPs will have the chance to debate it in Parliament later this year.
The CA has stated that a new agricultural policy must achieve the following:
- Promote productive and competitive farming
- Support the work of other land managers
- Encourage diversification and public engagement
- Address the digital divide
- Sustain upland landscapes and communities
The CA’s new policy document states that our new agricultural policy must start with the objective of securing a productive and competitive farming industry by supporting farmers in their task of producing food. It also calls for recognition of the close relationship between farming and country sports, and measures to improve digital infrastructure and skills to be included in a new system of support payments.
Head of Policy, Sarah Lee, commented: “The food and farming industry is nationally important, generating over £108 billion a year for the UK economy. It is particularly important for our most rural areas where farming is often central to the economic and social life of the community as well as playing a vital role in conservation.
“Farming is the cornerstone for many of the activities enjoyed by people in rural areas, and many farmers benefit from the economic and social role which activities such as shooting contribute to the life of the farm. The Countryside Alliance will be working hard to ensure the close relationship between farming and country sports is allowed to continue in a new system of support payments.”