CLA responds to Queen's speech, Environmental and Agriculture Bills

14 October 2019

Commenting on the re-introduction of the Agriculture Bill, Country Land and Business Association Director General Sarah Hendry said:

“The Government’s direction of travel is robust and ambitious, and will be welcomed by rural businesses. Nevertheless, farmers will be dismayed that the Agriculture Bill has to start all over again having been stuck in the legislative process for the past year. It has been a wasted year. Farmers cannot begin to plan for their future until they know what they are transitioning towards, so Government must fast track the bill to make up for lost time, and finally give rural business owners some clarity.”

On the introduction of the Environmental Bill, she said:

“There is much to welcome in the Bill which does a good job of creating an enduring framework for positive action. Long-term plans, environmental targets and embedding environmental principles will help provide the stability and clarity needed for the Government to meet its environmental ambitions.

 “Meeting the environmental and climate challenge will require both Government and business to work together and the farming and land management sector have a crucial role to play in this. However, all of this needs to be matched with long-term funding for the sector in order to make the most of this new approach. This is the vital piece of the puzzle we are now missing.

 “We are equally pleased to see issues such as biodiversity net gain and conservation covenants confirmed, which will encourage wildlife management on privately owned land and could provide a new source of income.

“However, we are disappointed that the views of our members have been ignored on water abstraction where the government is continuing to push for removal of licences, vital for food production, without compensation. We will, of course, continue to engage with Defra and others on this issue."