Environment secretary Theresa Villers introduced the Agriculture Bill to Parliament on Thursday with plans to incentivise farmers to provide environmental services.
The Bill provides for a seven year transition for farming as the UK decouples from the Common Agricultural Policy. Of particular note for the water sector are plans to boost environmental stewardship and water management.
Villiers said: “At the heart of the government’s proposal is a new system for England that pays public money for the delivery of public goods – goods, such as clean air and water, from which we all benefit but the market alone does not provide. The Bill will allow us to invest public money in enriching wildlife habitats, preventing flooding, improving the quality of air and soil, planting more trees and raising standards of animal welfare.
“The enhancement of these public goods will help manage and mitigate the effects of climate change which is of profound public concern. The Bill will therefore be instrumental in delivering on the government’s crucial goal to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”
The Environment Bill is expected to be introduced soon.