Thank you for writing to me regarding the importance of farmers in helping nature. I am aware that farmers provide valuable work across the country, which is why the Government is committed to supporting the farming industry. £2.4 billion a year is currently being invested in farming over this Parliament.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive will provide farmers with a range of paid actions to help with a variety of issues such as helping to manage crop pests without the use of insecticides. This will help to ensure the resilience and efficiency of food production, whilst contributing towards the UK’s environmental goals on biodiversity, water quality and net zero. Together, this will ensure the future prosperity of the farming industry and protect the environment for future generations.
In addition, Countryside Stewardship Plus will reward farmers for working with neighbouring farms and landowners to support climate and nature aims. It will aim to deliver a high environmental ambition, similar to that planned for the Local Nature Recovery. This will include managing floodplains to an increased standard, to reduce the flood risk as well as aiming to improve biodiversity, restoring and maintaining peatland for carbon capture and storage, and enhancing and managing woodland to mitigate against drought in addition to enhancing its resilience to climate change.
With the initiation of the Government’s Water Plan, we hope to reduce the amount of pollution created by some farms by helping to manage slurry storage more effectively. Nearly £34 million is available through the first round of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant and an additional £10 million through the second round of the Water Management Grant which will help farmers manage their water use though better irrigation and additional on-farm reservoirs.
As I am sure you are aware, at COP15 a new deal to protect nature was agreed upon. This agreement included a global commitment to halt and reverse devastating biodiversity loss. Four legally binding targets have been set for biodiversity in England, including to halt the decline in abundance by 2030, to reverse declines by 2042, to reduce the risk of species extinction and to restore or create over 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat by 2042.
Thank you again for writing to me with this important issue.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking