With total farming income down 30% in the West Midlands and 1 in 5 mammals in the UK at risk of extinction, Philip Dunne MP is backing calls from environment charities and nature-friendly farmers to get measures that support both farming and nature included in the forthcoming Agriculture Bill.
Last week Mr Dunne joined with farmers and NGOs to celebrate sustainable farming across the UK at a Farmers’ Market event in Parliament, organised by the environmental coalitions Wildlife and Countryside Link and Greener UK. The coalitions include organisations such as RSPB, National Trust, WWF and RSPCA as well as the CLA and NFU who were all represented.
The event comes just before the forthcoming Agriculture Bill is expected to be introduced to the House of Commons and was well-attended with cross-party support from more than 60 MPs and Peers.
Mr Dunne said: “The environment, plants, wildlife and farming are inextricably linked. Farming can’t be successful without the natural resources it relies on, and nature is dependent on the stewardship of farmers, who occupy so much of our treasured British landscape.
Our environment and our farmers are struggling, and that’s why I’m backing calls to put farming for nature measures in the Agriculture Bill that will allow them to work in harmony and enable both to survive and thrive.”
The Agriculture Bill is expected to progress through Parliament imminently. In February the Government announced a consultation on radical recommendations to change farming policy and make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable – including putting improving nature at the heart of farming subsidies. The challenge now is for the Agriculture Bill to make this vision a reality.