MP heralds “Green Brexit” for Pendle

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has welcomed MPs backing the Agriculture Bill in the Commons, saying it will help deliver a ‘Green Brexit’ for the area.

This follows the House of Commons approving the Bill without division on Wednesday 10 October. The Government claims that the Bill will deliver a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations once the UK has left the EU.

The Agriculture Bill sets out how farmers and land managers will in future be paid for “public goods”, such as better air and water quality, improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.

This will replace the current subsidy system of Direct Payments, which is seen by many as ineffective and pays farmers based on the total amount of land farmed. These payments are skewed towards the largest landowners and are not linked to any specific public benefits. The top 10% of recipients currently receive almost 50% of total payments, while the bottom 20% receive just 2%.

As Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, the regulations put in place by the Bill would ensure a smooth transition as well as protecting the future and planning for farmers and land managers.

Mr Stephenson said, “Rural and farming areas like Pendle have a great opportunity to thrive once we leave the EU and help deliver a Green Brexit.

“For Pendle’s many farmers, the Agriculture Bill is crucial in ensuring we have a stable and strong set of rewards for high–quality, ethical farming and land management.”

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said, “This Bill will allow us to reward farmers who protect our environment, leaving the countryside in a cleaner, greener and healthier state for future generations.”