Fighting For A Greener UK

Fighting For A Greener UK

The future of food and farming was a hot topic today in Parliament, with the launch of Greener UK – a new coalition working to ensure environmental protection and enhancement is a top priority for the Government, as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

As part of this, politicians received a briefing on new agricultural policies required to meet the needs of people and our environment for generations: ‘Agriculture at a crossroad: the need for sustainable farming and land use policies’ – a bold call to action from the Soil Association, together with sixteen other organisations involved in nature conservation.

Together, we’re asking the Government to adopt sustainable farming and land use policies that encourage established agro-ecological approaches such as organic farming, and to provide tools for all farmers and land managers to develop more resilient and sustainable approaches. The briefing also emphasises the need for food and farming policy to be much better aligned with other areas of policy such as trade, food procurement, public health, and climate change – major priorities for the Soil Association. 

We’re eagerly awaiting the publication of the Government’s 25-year plans for food and farming, and for the environment.

These will present a critical opportunity to open up debate about the role of farming in securing all that society needs from the countryside. It’s vital that members of the public, farmers and anyone with an interest in the future of food make their voices heard.

Greener UK will be pushing for these plans to incorporate the 10 principles on farming and land use as set out in the briefing, which are:

  1. A shared countryside - We all have a stake in our countryside. We need an open and inclusive debate about its future to develop policies that reflect society’s shared needs.

  2. Nature everywhere - We need a healthy, thriving natural environment across the whole of the countryside, not just in protected areas.

  3. For future generations - Policies must ensure that our countryside is managed in a way that addresses the challenges of the future, particularly climate change, for the next generation

  4. Value for money - Taxpayers’ money should be invested in public benefits that the market does not provide, including healthy soils, abundant wildlife, better animal welfare and beautiful places for people to enjoy.

  5. Unacceptable to harm nature - We need a strong legislative baseline to safeguard the natural environment, and protect the interests of society.

  6. Easy to help nature - Simple systems for accessing the right financial support, underpinned by trusted advice, will make it easier for farmers, foresters and land managers to restore and integrate the environment into their businesses

  7. Fair to farmers - The government should ensure farmers receive a fair share of the profit generated in the supply chain, creating more resilient farm businesses.

  8. Built on strong evidence and past success - Future policies should build on successful agri-environment schemes, drawing on evidence and experience of how to reverse declines in nature, and secure ecosystem services vital to farming and wider society.

  9. Coherent with other policy areas - There must be clear and coherent objectives, targets and milestones that are much better aligned with other areas of policy.

  10. The right action at the right scale - By using data to understand the environmental, social and cultural value of different places, we can ensure action is targeted in the right way.

Organic farmers and growers have a major role to play in many of these areas and we’re pleased that is getting the recognition it deserves. You can find out more about the Greener UK coalition here.