New Agriculture Bill published this week

New Agriculture Bill published this week

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Agriculture Bill resulting from the govenrment's "Health and Harmony" consultation earlier this year was published on Wednesday this week (September 12). 

The much promoted aim is to pay farmers for public goods, such as environmental measures, soil health, and higher animal welfare standards, amongst others. Improving productivity is also included, with the bill having provision for financial assitance under the following categories:
The Secretary of State may give financial assistance for or in connection with any of the following purposes— (a) managing land or water in a way that protects or improves the environment; (b) supporting public access to and enjoyment of the countryside, farmland or woodland and better understanding of the environment; (c) managing land or water in a way that maintains, restores or enhances cultural heritage or natural heritage; (d) mitigating or adapting to climate change; B 5 10 Agriculture Bill Part 1 — New financial assistance powers 2 (e) preventing, reducing or protecting from environmental hazards; (f) protecting or improving the health or welfare of livestock; (g) protecting or improving the health of plants. 

(2) The Secretary of State may also give financial assistance for or in connection with the purpose of starting, or improving the productivity of, an agricultural, horticultural or forestry activity.

The transition period from the current payment system will begin fully in 2021 and last for seven years, with the current system of Direct Payments being continued in 2019 and 2020 in much the same way as now. 

A new Environmental Land Management System will replace Direct Payments; it is scheduled to start from next year but is yet to be designed and trialled. 

An explanation of the main features of the bill can be found here

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