Following the publication of the Agriculture Bill today, the Countryside Alliance has issued the following statement:

“The publication of this Bill is an historic moment for British agriculture and the countryside in general. The Government has promised the rural community that leaving the EU will be an opportunity to develop a better agricultural policy and we are determined to work with farming groups to ensure this is delivered.

“We welcome the powers contained in the Bill to provide financial support to improve the productivity of farming. Supporting a productive and competitive farming industry, capable of producing food and delivering environmental benefits, must be the main objective of our new policy as we set out in our agricultural policy document. Some types of farming will always struggle to be productive and we will scrutinise this Bill carefully to ensure the powers it contains enable financial support to be provided to upland and other marginal farmers.”

“This is one of the most significant Bills Defra has ever produced. The policies it contains will be tested by the politics of this volatile Parliament with numerous attempts to amend it in the Commons and the Lords. Defra Ministers will have to ensure that a new policy emerges which is practical and effective in the face of challenges from a range of individuals and organisations seeking to use this Bill to limit and restrict the actions of farmers and other land managers.

“The Countryside Alliance will be working hard to ensure the new policy created by this Bill supports the close relationship between farming and country sports and delivers a better future for the whole of the rural economy.”