The first ever revolutionary scheme for paying organic farmers to conserve the environment is to reward them.
The Government will provide subsidy money to farms that avoid herbicides or pesticides. This is the most significant shake-up in agricultural history.
Subsidies for farmers to keep soil erosion at bay will be available starting in the next year.
Rural groups were dissatisfied that no provisions were made for farmers to maintain footpaths safe for walkers.
Details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive were unveiled by Environment Secretary George Eustice (pictured) yesterday
At a Country Land and Business Association Conference yesterday, George Eustice, Environment Secretary, revealed the details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.
A government document on the scheme is the first to detail one of three new environmental land management initiative – part of the Agricultural Bill’s transitional post-Brexit plan.
Under the EU’s policy, payments were based on the amount of land farmed – benefiting landowners and costing around £3.5billion in total.
However, the new scheme does not provide subsidies for specific areas but instead will pay farmers what they do to conserve soils and biodiversity or to reduce climate change.
Gareth Morgan, of the Soil Association, said: ‘This is a long-awaited recognition from government that organic farming delivers benefits for the environment and should be incentivised.’
The plans also cover new standards for protecting soil health – acknowledging that ‘soils are one of our most important natural assets’.
A subsidy that helps farmers to keep their fields covered with crops throughout winter is one type.
Under the EU’s policy, payments were based on the amount of land farmed – benefiting landowners and costing around £3.5billion in total
The Open Spaces Society expressed disappointment that the agricultural funding system didn’t pay for better access to the public.
This meant that such access must be provided by the improvement and creation of roads to assist walkers, bikers, cyclists, and drivers, as well as creating paths to allow for greater opportunity to discover the country.
The society should pay compensation to landowners who block or abuse a public pathway.