Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Transformative Agricultural Bill moves closer to becoming a reality

13/07/20Transformative Agricultural Bill moves closer to becoming a reality

At Forge Property Consultants, we have been closely following the progress of the Transformative Agricultural Bill, which will impact both our clients and us. It is now back with the House of Lords, on its way towards becoming countrywide government policy when it is passed into Law, which it is on track to do next year.

Law of the Land

As of 7 July 2020, the debate has moved back to the Lords, to enter the Bill’s Committee Stage, with Defra Lords Minister Lord Gardiner leading several sittings of the house over the next fortnight. The Bill was first introduced to the House of Commons on 16 January this year and aims to deliver on the Government’s agricultural commitments included in its manifesto.

The Bill is needed to ensure a smooth and gradual transition away from the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy – which pays farmers based on the total amount of land farmed – and replace it with a system where farming efficiently and improving the environment are one and the same. The existing subsidy system of Direct Payments pays farmers for the total amount of land farmed, weighting payments towards the largest landowners, rather than ones which are delivering specific public benefits.

This step forward follows last week’s announcement that the Government will establish a Trade and Agriculture Commission. This will ensure that the UK’s future trade policy acknowledges its agricultural industry and makes a commitment to maintain its high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards.

Self-sufficiency and sustainability

The Bill sets out the Government’s plans for a new land management system, to boost productivity and reward environmental innovations and improvements. This will see farmers receive public money for providing public goods and real benefits. These can include improved air and water quality, better animal welfare, allowing natural habitats for wildlife to thrive, improving access to the countryside, or implementing anti-flooding measures. It will also help boost agricultural productivity and maximise the land’s potential for producing high-quality food in a more sustainable way.

As we leave the European Union, the sustainability of the UK’s productivity and self-sufficiency are important topics. Land use represents many of our clients’ livelihoods and future transformative policy in this area will impact them, so we’re pleased to see provision being made to safeguard the future of farming in the UK.

A fairer system

The process is on track to reach Royal Assent in time to begin its transition towards a fairer agricultural system in England, which is planned to kickstart in 2021. The landmark legislation is seen as a great opportunity to safeguard the UK’s agricultural sector for decades to come, while addressing environmental issues that are so much a part of our lives today. In this way, it will contribute to the Government’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, at the same time as helping to boost farmers’ productivity. We will be watching to see what amends are made to the policy during the ongoing debate and keep our clients informed of the issues that will affect them most.

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