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Government putting sustainable farming in Cambridgeshire at risk

Posted by Alex Mayer on 18th January 2019

There is not a single clause in the proposed new Agriculture Bill to stop an unscrupulous farmer from polluting indiscriminately – and local campaigners want that changed.

Martin Lines, Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, invited Euro MP Alex Mayer to his farm to highlight his anger at the Government’s plans which he has branded “all carrot and no stick”.

The government’s post-Brexit proposal is to reward responsible farmers who act as custodians of the land by improving wildlife habitats or repairing the soil. However crucially there are no penalties for failing to meet basic environmental levels.

This adds to fears that post-Brexit imports and a desire to get trade deal at any cost could undermine sustainable farming in the UK.

Martin Lines will explain to Alex Mayer MEP the need for clear baseline eco-standards to ensure the land stays healthy and productive for future generations.

Alex Mayer MEP said: “What happens on the farm matters to us all. It is good to reward those who I improve the soil, use fewer pesticides and have better animal welfare practices – but the government need to be very clear – there are certain basic standards we expect too.”

“Environment Secretary Micheal Gove has been happy to adopt the guise of an ‘eco-warrior’ when it suits him. But if he fails to put protections in British law, this will be shown to be nothing but a facade.”

Martin Lines, Cambridgeshire farmer and Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network said: “Currently, the plans are all carrot and no stick.”

It is the Secretary of State’s duty to establish an independent regulator before it’s too late. We can only guarantee long term food security by protecting and managing the natural assets which enable food production. If the Government does not amend the Bill to include baseline standards – and put a stop to the environmental degradation caused by intensive farming – Cambridgeshire farmers will be in danger of losing their livelihoods.”