More than 100 farmers sign letter urging "immediate" roll out of new farming measures to help businesses thrive

More than 130 farmers from across the UK have written to Environment Secretary George Eustice, asking the Government to “immediately” roll out the Landscape Recovery and Local Nature Recovery schemes

A lack of detail on the new Environment Land Management Scheme is hindering businesses future planning
A lack of detail on the new Environment Land Management Scheme is hindering businesses future planning

Part of the new Environment Land Management Scheme (ELMS), the signatories said an urgent rollout will help farmers commit to sustainable agricultural practices.

The letter, supported by the Nature Friendly Farming Network, criticises the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of “dragging its heels” on incentivising sustainable farming, with farmers saying they have “seen little to reassure British farmers and wider society that the Government is serious about helping agriculture” to meet net zero targets.

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The signatories said they do not believe that existing provisions reward “those of us who see a rapid shift to ‘net-zero, nature-positive’ as the only way our farms can thrive”.

The letter comes amid increasing fears for food security prompted by the war in Ukraine, with the signatories claiming that “just as green energy will help us get out of this fuel crisis, sustainable farming will form the path to long-term food security”.

Meanwhile, the third instalment of the IPCC report on climate change has reiterated the urgent need to reduce emissions and increase carbon storage – responsibility for which will fall heavily on the agricultural sector.

While the Government announced support for farmers wishing to buy greener fertilisers last week, signatories to the letter see this as a stop-gap measure that does not address long-term fears for the sector.

James Robinson, vice-chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network Steering Group, said: “It is clear that farmers across the country want a subsidy system that facilitates climate and nature-friendly farming. Not just to take greater heed of the environment in what we do, but to build a robust, reliable and secure food system.

“What we have are the words, but now we need action. While the Government has delayed and distracted, farmers across the country are being left completely in the dark about how this system will be implemented – this is even more regrettable given the cost of living crisis we all find ourselves in.”