More than 44,000 responses have been received to the Government’s proposals for the post-Brexit future of food, farming and the environment.
Many left it late into the 10-week consultation process to respond, with nearly 20,000 responses submitted to the ‘Health & Harmony’ consultation in the last week alone.
The consultation closed yesterday. It asked farmers, food producers and environmentalists, and anyone else with an interest in future policy, to share their views on everything from government support to farmers and food producers to the broader direction of policy post-Brexit.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) hosted 17 events across the country alongside groups including the National Trust, the National Farmers’ Union and the Eden Project, to hear from more than 1,250 representatives of the UK’s food and farming sectors during the consultation.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “It’s great news that so many people have responded so enthusiastically to our consultation. Leaving the European Union gives us the opportunity to improve the support we give to Britain’s farmers. We can make farming more productive, improve the quality of the food we eat and enhance our natural environment.
“We’ll reflect on the many thoughtful ideas put forward in response to our consultation and bring forward our plans for legislation later this year.”
The consultation included proposals to redirect payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which are based on the amount of land farmed, to a new system of paying farmers public money for public goods, principally for their work to enhance the environment.
Responses to the consultation will now be analysed carefully and the Government will publish a response shortly, Defra said.