“The government is considering scraping the ‘Brexit bonus’ which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature – and replacing it with a yearly set sum for each acre of land they own, which would be similar to the much-maligned EU basic payments scheme of the common agricultural policy.”
The NFU has generally welcomed the government’s new Growth Plan:
NFU President Minette Batters said: “British food and farming is worth more than £100 billion to the national economy and provides jobs for four million people. Investing in this sector to increase productivity and growth is in everyone’s interests.
Welcome news for investment decisions: “That is why the announcement that the annual investment allowance will remain permanently at £1 million will be welcome news to many farmers, enabling them to plan and make investment decisions at the earliest opportunity…
The Observer reports on parallel plans to scrap the Environment Land Management Scheme (Elms), constructed to encourage farmers to create space for species, as well as absorbing carbon to help England reach its net zero target:
The National Farmers’ Union has been pushing back against plans to pay farmers for nature schemes rather than food production.
Minette Batters, the NFU president, welcomed the departure from Elms. “My absolute priority is ensuring that farmers can continue to produce the nation’s food – so I do support maintaining direct payments in order to build a scheme that really will deliver for food production and the environment,” she said.
The Farmers’ Weekly also reports today:
Industry leaders have given a mixed reaction to unconfirmed reports that Defra is considering the launch of an area payments scheme that would pay all landowners in England £80/acre.
The suggestion was put forward in a tweet by Ben Goldsmith, the brother of Zac Goldsmith who held a governmental role as a non-executive director of Defra until he resigned in July after five years in the post, helping to design major agriculture legislation.
Mr Goldsmith later tweeted an article he penned in 2020 in which he explained why he believes a system governed by the principle of paying landowners “public money for public environmental good” was a “much better idea than unconditional subsidies for landowners”. He said the government’s new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme had “barely started” and “they [Defra] ought to give it a chance”. Rewilding advocate and environmentalist Mr Goldsmith added: “Let’s hope the government sticks to the course.”
His comments triggered a lively debate on the social media platform, with some offering their support and others strongly opposed...
The debate continues in that Farmers’ Weekly piece.
And to return to the Observer piece, there is plenty of debate there too:
The government is to scrap the “Brexit bonus” which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature, in what wildlife groups are calling an “all-out attack” on the environment, the Observer can reveal. Instead, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) sources disclosed, they are considering paying landowners a yearly set sum for each acre of land they own, which would be similar to the much-maligned EU basic payments scheme of the common agricultural policy.