Farmers lobby MPs for legislation that puts nature at the heart of farming policy
- Credit: Archant
Members of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) protested outside Parliament last week to demand that the Government prioritises nature friendly farming in the forthcoming Agriculture Bill.
The Agriculture Bill is currently at Committee Stage and under debate in Westminster. Even though the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said CAP payments will be replaced by subsidies that reward farmers for delivering public goods, MPs can still make amendments.
Cambridgeshire farmer Martin Lines, who is chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, said: “At this stage of the debate the Agriculture Bill can still be amended, which means the fight for nature and sustainable farming is not over yet. Mr Michael Gove may have promised to use public money to reward farmers for delivering public goods, but the devil is in the detail. Certainty is key here and MPs have a chance to create a policy that works for farmers and nature.”
READ MORE: Hopes Agriculture Bill will herald a new age of nature friendly farming
The farmer-led NFFN wants the Bill to set basic standards for sustainable land management; make sure that productivity is underpinned by sustainability to ensure long-term food security; and reward farmers financially for delivering environmental benefits.
You may also want to watch:
UK wildlife is declining at alarming rates - according to Defra the number of farm birds has dropped by 54% since 1970, while the farmland butterfly index has fallen by 27% since 1990. Many factors have resulted in these declines but changes in agricultural practices have been a major driver.
The farmers travelling to Westminster wore specially designed wellies that featured the species or ecology that each farmer protects on their land - Mr Lines had a barn owl on his.
- 1 Murder-suicide probe after couple found dead in Woodbridge
- 2 National Trust 'deeply saddened' at death of volunteers in Woodbridge incident
- 3 'Our fund is $13 billion and we’re holding $700m in cash' - The money behind Ipswich Town's new owners
- 4 Woman arrested on suspicion of drink-driving following A14 crash
- 5 'You either deliver or you leave' - Cook's message to Town players
- 6 Paul Cook speaks about Ipswich Town takeover for first time
- 7 Woman found dead in country park is named
- 8 The first five jobs for Ipswich Town's new owners
- 9 Woodbridge community 'saddened' after couple found dead by police
- 10 Woman dies after car collides with tree in Leiston
He added:: “Wildlife declines, soil degradation and climate change threaten our landscape’s productivity and farmer livelihoods.
“Many farmers are working to reverse this trend, but Government must embed nature friendly farming in policy. We need a long-term, sustainable management framework to deliver real food security.”