4 January 2024
Following today’s (4th January) announcement by the Secretary of State on updates to the UK’s farming schemes, nature coalition group Wildlife and Countryside Link has welcomed the announcement but has called on the government to support a more holistic approach to sustainable farm payments which enable environmental recovery at scale and to make good on its commitment to regulatory reform.
Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link said, “It’s very good to see Defra offer higher premium payments for nature-friendly farming choices. Sustainable agriculture has been chronically undervalued for too long.
“However, much more is needed to support a sustainable farming future. With six years until the legal target to halt nature’s decline, it’s impossible to imagine that we’re on track to reverse long-term decline in farmland wildlife, restore protected habitats to good condition, or stop the pollution pouring into our waterways.
“With the complete absence of any long-term plan for stronger regulation, Defra could undermine the benefits of today’s announcements. Rather than a piecemeal pick ‘n’ mix approach, Defra should offer generous rewards for nature-friendly farming packages across whole farms. A plan to ratchet up ambition each year would give farmers the clarity they need to help halt nature’s decline by 2030.”
Notes to Editors:
● Wildlife and Countryside Link (Link) is the largest environment and wildlife coalition in England, bringing together 82 organisations to use their strong joint voice for the protection of nature. Our members campaign to conserve, enhance and access our landscapes, animals, plants, habitats, rivers and seas. Together we have the support of over eight million people in the UK and directly protect over 750,000 hectares of land and 800 miles of coastline. Wildlife and Countryside Link is a registered charity number 1107460 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales number 3889519
● Wildlife and Countryside Link's briefing on Cross Compliance and Regulatory reform can be found here.
● The Nature 2030 Report, which contains Wildlife and Countryside Link's proposals for a pay rise for nature-friendly farming can be found here.
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