Agriculture: Sustainable Development

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 3 February 2020.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of (a) changing (i) subsidies and (ii) grant support and (b) other steps to encourage the transition of UK agriculture towards a more sustainable plant-based system.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Agriculture Bill will allow us to replace the restrictive EU Common Agricultural Policy with an ambitious new Environmental Land Management scheme. This scheme is based on the principle of ‘public money for public goods’ and will deliver financial support for farmers who protect our environment and deliver high animal welfare and food quality standards in a sustainable way. As such, this scheme will significantly contribute to the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and others such as net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Defra has commissioned its lead Non-Executive Director, Henry Dimbleby, to lead an Independent Review to develop a series of recommendations that will help shape a National Food Strategy, considering the entire food system from field to fork. The terms of reference of the review include seeking to ensure that our food system restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation in this country, and is built upon a resilient, sustainable and humane agriculture sector. The Independent Review, launched on 25 June 2019, will publish its interim report in spring 2020 and its final report the following winter. The Government has committed to publishing a White Paper in response within six months of the review being published.

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