The Uplands Alliance Steering Group met on 18th September to discuss the Agriculture Bill published by the Government on 12th September. The first debate in the House of Commons is on 10th October 2018.
We have produced a parliamentary briefing which we are circulating to relevant Ministers, MPs and Peers as well as civil servants. We have also asked for a meeting with George Eustice MP to discuss our concerns and we are already meeting with a range of civil servants to discuss these.
Our Particular Concerns are:
- There is no assurance on funding post 2022. England’s Uplands currently receive ~£230 million each year. As a minimum this total needs to be guaranteed long term to secure and enhance public benefits; those that are not paid for at the till e.g. wildlife, carbon, water, access, landscape.
- The Secretary of State’s speeches have praised upland shepherds but the Bill and Explanatory Notes provide no assurance that the farming systems that deliver our much loved landscapes will be supported. We seek a backstop to secure upland communities’ traditional management systems where they enhance natural and cultural benefits.
- Landscape is not referenced but we know it is beautiful landscapes that primarily draw the 70 million visits to England’s uplands each year.
- The Bill is silent on actively providing financial support to rural communities to grow and diversify; these communities require diverse economies to underpin public benefits
- The Bill fails to acknowledge the complexity of land tenure with multiple players operating on the same piece of land who all can contribute to public benefits
Please do write to your MP and express your views. The more people who care about the uplands write directly the more influence we will have.
If you would like to include a copy of our Briefing including our suggestions for amendments you can download it here:
Details of the Bill and its progress through Parliament can be found here