The government has pledged to streamline support for farmers to protect wildlife, enhance the environment and improve land use as the UK leaves the EU.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the current system of farm support under the EU’s “burdensome” Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is “inefficient, ineffective, inequitable and environmentally harmful”.
The CAP sustains the EU’s food supplies by boosting agricultural productivity and provides financial support to around 12 million farmers across Europe.
As a first step, Mr Gove announced simplifications to the Country Stewardship scheme through the creation of four new streamlined offers which will be launched in January next year.
The scheme provides financial incentives for land managers to look after their environment.
They are expected to have a “much simpler” application process – half as much paperwork as before – so it will be easier for farmers and land managers to apply and deliver environmental benefits on their land.
The government will look to publish an Agriculture Bill in 2018 and a consultation.
It recently pledged £60 million for the Countryside Productivity scheme. The money can also be used to buy tools like precision slurry application equipment, which reduces ammonia emissions, delivers savings on fertiliser and ultimately helps the environment.
Mr Gove said: “I have set out plans to improve our current schemes, starting with simplifying support for farmers to protect and enhance our landscapes and countryside. But these measures are just the beginning – the first steps towards a simplified system of support.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working closely with our farmers to make sure we listen to what they want as we design a new approach and realise our vision for the future of UK food and farming outside the EU.”