Agriculture Bill: Second Reading

 

Last week I spoke in the second reading of the Agriculture Bill, the legislation that will enable us to completely re-think our land use policy on exiting the EU and leaving the Common Agricultural policy. For too many years we have been tied into a system, together with 27 other countries, that has not necessarily been best suited to UK food production and environmental priorities, with farmers simply paid for the privelidge of owning land. Now we have the opportunity to  change this, with an emphasis on paying those on the land for public services delivered, such as clean water, healthier soils in which to grow sustainable food, woodland to reduce flooding,  heritage and culture, access to the countryside; as well as improvements to agricultural productivity and efficiency.  I have met with a great many constituents, including farmers, the NFU, CLA, Wildlife Trust, RSPB, transition groups and so on, to consider how this system should be developed and I was pleased to be able to represent their views in my speech (as well as to get a mention into a Prime Minister’s Question.)