Farm support payments to be used to help the environment after Brexit
Environment Secretary Michael Gove consulting on plans which would redirect £150 million in support away from richest farmers
Up to £150 million in support payments could be redirected from the richest farmers to projects to improve the environment after Brexit.
As the UK leaves the EU, Environment Secretary Michael Gove wants to end the Common Agricultural Policy system of “direct payments” based on the amount of land farmed and move to a new arrangement rewarding farmers for “public goods” such as environmental enhancements and investment in sustainable food production.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced plans for a transition period lasting a number of years to enable farmers to prepare for the new system.
But it also released calculations suggesting that around £150 million could be freed up for “public goods” in the first year through options including:
– A £100,000 cap on payments, affecting around 2,100 farmers (2% of recipients); or
– A progressive reduction in payments affecting around 19,000 farmers (22% of recipients), of whom 13,500 would lose less than £5,000 and around 300 – all with claims worth over £200,00 – would lose more than £75,000.
In line with its manifesto commitment, the Government will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament in 2022.
Launching a consultation on his plans, Mr Gove said: “As we leave the EU, we have a historic opportunity to deliver a farming policy which works for the whole industry.