Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Professor Marsden:

One suggestion in my amendment was that, right at the start, you have interlinked and interlocking objectives: promoting farming and food systems for ecologically restoring and protecting the environment, delivering resilient forms of food production and supply, which enhances food security, and improving quality food access, consumer choice and public health benefits. If you put those three things together, rather than in separate subsections, what that conveys is that any financing would have to pass those integrated tests. On the ground, that would effectively mean that it would be re-linking production in many respects. No public financing would be given unless sustainable production was leading to environmental gain or environmental restoration. It is not either/or; it is both together. A lot of research shows that we have spent 20 or 30 years developing very complicated environmental initiatives and processes, but they have been separated from agricultural practice. This is the opportunity to say, “No, we want agricultural practice to be central to delivering on environmental gains.” That is a message that needs to be put right at the start of the Bill.