FROM THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE
The government has signalled it will look to reward farmers for providing services including water quality improvements and flood reduction as part of its strategy to replace the Common Agricultural Policy following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Speaking at a fringe meeting organised by rural landowners association the CLA at the Conservative Party conference on Tuesday, farming minister George Eustice said it was right to recognise farmers provide more than just food from their land and that it was “absolutely right” the government should reward them for delivering ecosystem services. He looked to a local approach, speaking of schemes individually tailored and joining up a host of things including water management, soil management, flood risk and food production. The approach taken in Devon, said Eustice, could be fundamentally different to that taken in Cambridgeshire.
Without blanket EU rules and the risk of infraction proceedings, he said we should “allow ourselves to try different things in different areas”. He even mooted that third parties like the Rivers Trusts and local organisations might look to proactively coordinate catchment sensitive farming plans.