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Link’s Agriculture Working Group seeks to conserve the natural and historic environment and improve animal welfare by seeking improvements to agriculture and land management policy.

Chair: Christopher Price, Rare Breeds Survival Trust
Vice Chair: Alice Groom, RSPB
Link: Hannah Conway, Policy Officer

Update from the group:

The Government announced their Agricultural Transition Plan in 2020, which set out the general direction of travel for food, farming and land management until 2024 including the flagship policy Environmental Land Management. In October, Link published a report ‘Digging Deeper: why the agricultural transition must go further and faster for nature, climate and people’ which set out recommendations for Environmental Land Management such as a 10% of farmland managed for nature. It also called for more clarity around the future of farming regulation.

Since then, the Government have announced the standards which will be available to all farmers as part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive in 2022. You can see a Link parliamentary briefing assessing the standards here. Almost one year into the transition and the ambition of Environmental Land Management still needs to be amped up significantly, particularly for the Sustainable Farming Incentive, if we are to meet our climate and environmental goals.

Link contributed to the National Audit Office report on Environmental Land Management, which highlighted that as yet, there are still a lack of clear overarching objectives for the scheme. Link are also pushing for a much greater focus on delivery of integrated outcomes and whole-system approaches that enable production of sustainable food and timber whilst delivering tangible benefits for people, nature and climate.

Furthermore, while Defra has begun to assess the agricultural regulatory and enforcement system, but this only centres around nutrient management and livestock traceability and does not address the broader recommendations made by Dame Glenys Stacey in 2018, which are still urgently needed to underpin investment of public money.

For further information, contact Hannah Conway, Link’s Policy Officer.

Last updated: 8.5.22

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