Responding to the policy paper by the RSPB, National Trust and Wildlife Trusts, Paying for Public Goods from environmental land management in England, Country Land and Business Association (CLA) President Tim Breitmeyer said:
“This is welcome research which builds on previous good work outlining some of the financial costs behind commitments on the environment. The figures are a starting point for any conversation on what a future payment system will look like and supports the CLA’s consistent message that more than the current budget will be needed if we are to support the aspirations of the 25 year environmental plan while boosting productivity.
“It is also interesting to see advice included in the modelling. The proposed changes to the system are wide-ranging and farmers will require ongoing support to make the most of these new opportunities. It is for this reason that the CLA has called for an additional £200 million a year investment to increase productivity, skills and knowledge throughout the post-Brexit transition period. This is on top of the investment costed in the paper, but it will also ensure environmental gains are realised by helping farmers produce more with less inputs, while boosting resilience and productive capacity across our farming system.
“The modelling highlights interesting points on “high nature value” farming recognising the huge environmental benefits of many farms where profitability is low. A combination of fair payments which accounts for the full cost of environmental delivery, and business adaptation advice, would help them to remain in business and deliver for wildlife and nature.
“The ball is now firmly in the Government’s court. We need to see more detail on the proposals if farmers are to be expected to deliver environmental gains alongside producing food for the nation.”