At a time when urgent action is needed to reverse the declines in our natural environment, voluntary organisations have come together to produce an ambitious yet wholly achievable vision for farming in England.
Nature provides us with food, fuel and fibre - the essentials of life. It pollinates our crops, purifies our water and gives us green spaces for recreation. It also enriches our lives with its beauty and diversity.
A healthy natural environment is fundamental to productive, sustainable farming. Equally, the way we manage our land has a huge impact on nature, and will determine whether it prospers or perishes.
We believe in a food and farming system that encourages nature and landscapes to thrive, supports livelihoods and local communities, and has public health and animal welfare at its heart.
Many of our current approaches to food and farming are environmentally, economically and socially unsustainable. We are exploiting our natural resources and not replenishing them sufficiently, losing unique species and irreplaceable habitats forever and eroding our natural capital at an alarming rate.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU presents many challenges to the environment, but it is also a decisive moment, which we believe is an unprecedented opportunity to reform our farming system into one which will works for farmers, nature, livestock and rural communities.
The 25 Year Plans for food and farming and for the environment, which the Government has promised, have been delayed due to the EU Referendum and we are currently waiting for the frameworks and consultation arrangements to be announced.
Our vision ‘Farming Fit for the Future’, which was launched at an event in Parliament in September 2015, sets out a vision for farming that will deliver multiple benefits for farming communities and businesses, for nature, for livestock and for the nation; in the immediate term and into the future.
We believe strongly that plans for farming and the environment must be joined up and united around an ambition to protect and enhance the ecosystems that underpin sustainable farming - our soils, freshwater and natural habitats. Good environmental management of the farmed landscape is the only economically sustainable way forward for farming; it is critical to the health of the country’s natural environment, the welfare of livestock and to the health and wellbeing of its people.
We look forward to discussing our ideas further with the Government, the farming community and other stakeholders, and working with them on a 25 Year Plan for farming that is truly fit for the future.
Our vision is for farming that is:
Membership of Wildlife and Countryside Link is open to national and international voluntary or other non-profit organisations based in England. Member organisations must be able to demonstrate an interest in furthering the work of Link, and their aims must include the protection of wildlife, landscape and the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Individual members of the public are not eligible to join Link, but may be interested in joining one of Link's member organisations.