Game-changing countryside shake-up that pays farmers to go green and replaces EU’s common agricultural policy will be unveiled TODAY

  • The ‘Sustainable Farming Incentive’ will replace EU’s common agricultural policy
  • The scheme will be presented by George Eustice, Environment Secretary. He will make the announcement in a speech to mark today’s occasion
  • The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are more than 10% due to the contribution of farms

Unveiled today are radical plans for the overhaul of subsidies for farmers.

The ‘Sustainable Farming Incentive’ will replace the EU’s common agricultural policy that was worth more than £3.5billion a year. 

The program will pay farmers to protect the environment, rather than mainly receiving payment for growing crops or rearing livestock.

The scheme will be presented by George Eustice, Environment Secretary to Landowners of London today.

Environment Secretary George Eustice (pictured) will outline the scheme in a speech today to landowners in London

Today, George Eustice the Environment Secretary will present the plan to London’s landowners.

He will say: ‘While it is not for me to tell an individual farmer what to do, I accept that we need to be clear about the policy outcomes we seek.

‘These are to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030; to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; to plant up to 10,000 hectares of trees per year in England, to improve water quality; to create more space for nature in the farmed landscape.’

He will add that the aim is to ‘ensure a vibrant and profitable food and farming industry’.

More than 10% of UK greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, which is why it’s so important for climate change.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) praised the scheme as potentially ‘the most progressive and environmentally responsible’ of its kind.

But Britain’s three biggest nature charities – the Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and RSPB – said it was a ‘huge disappointment’. 

The scheme, which was supposed to encourage farmers to avoid soil erosion and air pollution, rewards them with cash, according to charities.

They added that standards saying legumes, which improve soil health, are required on only 15 per cent of land was ‘a really low ambition’.

Craig Bennett of the Wildlife Trusts said: ‘After leaving the EU, we were promised that the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money given to farmers would be used to improve our natural world. 

Farming accounts for more than 10 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions, making it critical to climate change

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions from farms account for over 10%. This makes it a critical part of climate change.

But today’s publication shows a shocking lack of ambition. There’s so much that farmers could be rewarded for doing, such as restoring peatlands and employing ambitious measures to prevent soil and pollutants from washing into rivers – to help wildlife and store carbon.’

He added: ‘It’s an absolute scandal that the Government has failed to seize this unique and important opportunity.’

Hilary McGrady of the National Trust said: ‘The future of wildlife and climate now looks uncertain as today’s announcement falls short of the ambitious reforms promised. 

‘Farmers need a clear path to a future where nature is at the heart of sustainable and secure food production, not the short diversion this new scheme creates.’

Mark Tufnell of the CLA said: ‘Today is a major milestone in the development of England’s new agriculture policy.

‘The schemes have the potential to be the most progressive and environmentally responsible schemes of their kind anywhere in the world.

‘The detail announced today of the Sustainable Farming Incentive fires the starting gun on our transition towards a more sustainable and resilient farming sector.’