A letter has been sent to new Prime Minister, Theresa May, urging the government to ensure that new trade agreements in a post-Brexit era ensure the progress of previous and current environmental work.
Signatories include the likes of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Wildlife Trust, War on Want, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, and Real Farming.
Currently farmers enjoy £3 billion in subsidies from the EU (dependent on the exchange rate), and were promised to receive substantial help from the government should the UK vote to leave.
The letter stated that new subsidies should help cut greenhouse gas emissions within the agricultural industries by 80 per cent by 2050:
Such policies can also support a vibrant and diverse economy, good jobs and working conditions, ethical and sustainable production
methods, international development, improved animal welfare, more farmland and marine wildlife and restored farmland biodiversity, as well as enhancing the beauty of the countryside and protecting the environment (in particular fresh water and soils), while providing a safe and traceable food supply.
“Crafting good food and farming policies is also essential to help heal the rift that has so far characterised the EU Referendum process, as well as to combat the disenfranchisement and distrust in the political process that so many of our fellow citizens have expressed.”
Most of the subsidies received from the EU are under the common agricultural policy (CAP) and are based on the amount of land farmed – with other amounts going to farmers for adhering to higher environmental standards.
This can including leaving field margins idle to leave space for wildlife, though many have long been regarded as inadequate by many green campaigners.
What’s more, due to the fact that subsidies are paid for the land owned, large landowners such as the Prince of Wales, receive millions of pounds while farmers with little land receive much less.
The letter also asks Oliver Letwin MP, the Minister involved in advising the Government on a post EU strategy, to ensure that the advice given is drawn up in consultation with experts from science, health, and sustainability.