The UK Government has today published a draft Agriculture Bill, primarily relating to England. This will enable it to introduce new payments and policy mechanisms on leaving the EU and in place of the Common Agricultural Policy. Halting declines in farmland wildlife and reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by agriculture – as well as helping farming become more resilient in the face of climate change - must be central goals of all new agriculture policy throughout the UK.
RSPB Scotland urges the Scottish Government to now set out its own future strategy for farming, and bring forward the necessary policies and legislation, to set agriculture on a greener path. Recent statements responding to the Agriculture Bill by Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing say little about future policy for Scotland. Instead he appears to call for business as usual and fails to recognise the environmental challenges that farmers need help to respond to. This is disappointing to say the least. The environment must be at the heart of future Scottish farming policy with environmental land management payments being centre stage.