CLA: unique opportunity to come together to design world-leading policy for our food, farming and the environment

Government and farmers together have a unique opportunity to establish a new, world-leading UK Food, Farming and Environmental policy and create better outcomes than the EU Common Agricultural Policy for our agriculture sector, the rural economy and the environment.

This is the message delivered today by the CLA, which represents 32,000 farmers and landowners in England and Wales. The CLA, along with Scottish Land & Estates, has today published a new briefing on the six principles for building a more competitive and sustainable rural economy in post-Brexit Britain. Between them, members of the CLA and Scottish Land & Estates farm and manage more than 16 million acres of rural land in the UK.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “The UK deserves a world-leading Food, Farming and Environmental Policy which creates better outcomes for our agricultural sector, the rural economy, our environment and also rural communities while also delivering better value for money for the taxpayer. Brexit creates the freedom and opportunity for Government, farmers and other land managers to work together to achieve this.

“The EU Common Agricultural Policy is cumbersome and unwieldy but provides important economic, environmental and social benefits. It would be disastrous for our agricultural sector, the environment and the rural economy as a whole – and for anyone who values our countryside – if we were to lose momentum post Brexit.

“This is a pivotal moment for how food is produced, how the environment is cared for and how the countryside is managed. The CLA has had positive early discussions with Ministers, policy makers and other rural groups and today we have set out the six fundamental principles on which the new policy should be based.

“Members of the CLA and Scottish Land & Estates want to provide the country with a safe, secure supply of food, to continue improving biodiversity, help tackle climate change and manage the UK’s distinctive landscapes for this generation and for those to come. We are calling on the Governments of the UK to make an early commitment that they will establish the new Food, Farming and Environmental policy that this vision depends upon.”

The six fundamental principles for the new Food, Farming and Environmental Policy are:

· A productive, competitive farming and forestry sector: the policy must enable UK farmers to be competitive on domestic and international markets, with a renewed recognition as the nation’s primary food suppliers

· Food security: the policy must promote innovative, sustainable ways to increase production and manage risk

· Enhancing the environment: the policy must be more ambitious than its predecessors in meeting environmental challenges

· A dedicated UK budget: Government must provide sufficient funds for the policy across the whole of the UK and take a long term approach

· Value for Money: the policy must deliver value for money in the way it is implemented and in the outcomes it delivers to the benefit of everyone

· Clear, proportionate regulation: the standards that must be met should be clear, with guidance for businesses to achieve compliance.

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