Growers and farmers who invest in the countryside and wildlife on their farms will receive cash incentives, according to Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss.
Speaking last month, she said: “There will be payments for farmers to maintain hedgerows and strips of wildlife-friendly ground round the edges of arable fields, providing sources of nectar and nesting sites for insects. It will also be an incentive to provide forage year round, whether that is in crops or additional planting.”
The Government already has £2 billion of environmental schemes and is now launching a £900 million new Countryside Stewardship scheme, part of the new Common Agriculture Policy.
This will have a dedicated Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package – which will be open for applications next year.
“A clean, beautiful, healthy natural environment is about more jobs and greater prosperity, contributing to our long-term economic plan, our wellbeing and our future security. Our £100 billion food industry needs the environment to be in top condition if it is to be at its most productive. So does the whole £210 billion rural economy,” says Ms Truss. “In the 21st century modern economy, we aren’t trading off between prosperity and a thriving natural environment–we are trading up,” she adds.
“Food and farming contributes £100 billion a year to our economy and employs 1 in 8 people. My ambition is for British food and farming to lead the world. Food is already our biggest manufacturing industry, bigger than cars and aerospace combined, and it can grow much more.”