At a farming conference in Oxford today, Environment Secretary Michael Gove outlined plans to replace farm subsidies based on the amount of land owned, with funding to support farmers to provide public benefits, including environmentally friendly practices and better access to the countryside.

The plan would see the creation of a range of initiatives that would both protect and enhance wildlife as well as restore the health of the countryside upon which society and the farming industry itself is dependant.  This would include the creation of wildflower meadows, planting of woods, creation of habitats for wildlife and improved flood management.

The Wildlife Trusts have recently produced a vision for the future of farming that spells out the benefits of the approach Mr Gove is taking.  They include: healthy soils, clean water, clean air and climate change mitigation, flood risk management, more, bigger and better natural habitats, thriving wildlife everywhere, abundant pollinators, and healthy people.  They calculate that this can be done more cheaply than the EU’s current system.

Dr Simon Cripps, Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust said, “This very day we stand on the cusp of a revolution in how we protect and manage the countryside on which we are all dependant, either for food, health or enjoyment. 

I believe Mr Gove’s plans announced today will result in a more prosperous, healthy and enjoyable country and countryside.  We are finally, after over a century of thinking we are above nature rather than a part of it, valuing our wildlife and environment as our life support system. 

These plans will benefit both nature and the farming industry by giving farmers the financial support they need to benefit society.”

Read the Wildlife Trusts vision for the future of farming and land management in England, What Next for Farming here:  HYPERLINK “”

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