A debate has been scheduled in Westminster Hall from 9.30-11am on Wednesday 30 November on the avian influenza outbreak. The debate will be opened by Sir John Whittingdale MP.
Information on farm support programmes is set out in the Commons Library Briefing Farm funding: implementing new approaches published on 6 July 2022.
Since publication of the briefing, on 23 September 2022, the Government published a Growth Plan 2022 which indicated that it would review “frameworks for regulation, innovation, and investment that impact farmers and land managers in England” with the aim of strengthening UK food security and maximising the “long-term productivity, resilience, competitiveness, and environmental stewardship of the British countryside”.
A number of environmental and other NGOs, such as the National Trust and the RSPB, expressed concerns about the Growth Plan, including about the environmental impact if Environmental Management Schemes (ELMs) for farmers were to be rolled back. The NFU was reported to be supportive of the proposal to review the ELMS approach, in collaboration with farmers, so that the schemes could “boost growth and farming’s contribution to the nation”.
Defra has refuted claims that it was planning to scrap ELMs or “go back on its commitment to the environment”. It said that in September 2022 that a:
“strong environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand. We have legislated through the Environment Act and will continue to improve our regulations and wildlife laws in line with our ambitious vision. We want every corner of our country to prosper too. Bureaucratic processes in the planning system do not necessarily protect the environment so, by making sure we have the right regulations for our nation, we can make this happen.
[…] Boosting food production and strengthening resilience and sustainability come alongside, not instead of, protecting and enhancing our natural environment, and later this year we will set out more details of plans on how we will increase food security while strengthening the resilience and role of farmers as stewards of the British countryside”.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer further said in a Written Answer on 28 October 2022 that Defra remained “committed to environmental land management” and was working closely with the sector to look at “how best to deliver the schemes to see where and how improvements can be made”. Further information would be provided “by the end of this year”.
The following Commons Library Briefings also provide information on farming and food supply relevant to the debate.
Commons Library Briefings
Seasonal Worker visas and UK agriculture (Research briefing, 4 November 2022)
The National Food Strategy and food security (Research Briefing, 21 October 2022)
Debate on supporting local food infrastructure (Research Briefing, 6 September 2022)
The effect of the war in Ukraine on UK farming and food production (Research Briefing, 18 July 2022)
Support for farmers with the cost of living (Research Briefing, 7 July 2022)
Regional statistics briefing papers:
Agriculture in Sussex – House of Commons Library (parliament.uk) 21 October 2022
A briefing on the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill 2022-23
A debate has been scheduled in the Commons Chamber for 9 November 2022 on "Levelling Up Rural Britain." The subject for the debate has been chosen by the Backbench Business Committee.