Farming News - Green watchdog will support farmers to care for the environment

Green watchdog will support farmers to care for the environment

20 Dec 2018

A new green watchdog to hold the Government to account will help to prevent damage to the environment through Brexit and beyond by supporting farmers to care for the countryside, according to the CLA.

A green field with a tree in the background.

Defra published draft clauses of the Environment Bill yesterday which set out how the Government will deliver its environmental ambitions by establishing the Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) as the new body to oversee governance.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we found it. We will keep building on our successes by enhancing our environmental standards and delivering a Green Brexit.”

The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses welcomed the Bill and OEP saying it would help to strengthen existing green powers to enable the continued protection of the environment without added bureaucracy shifted on to those who care for it.

CLA Director of Policy and Advice Christopher Price said: “Farmers and land managers are up for the challenge of enhancing and protecting the environment. We want to deliver for the environment through supportive policy that provides a clear idea of achievable outcomes.

“In our consultation response we called for the proposed new body to ensure the Government is scrutinised and penalised sufficiently so that environmental targets are met but without adding extra cost and complexity. We are pleased the Government has listened to us and believe existing green powers will be strengthened so that the farmers and land managers who deliver this important environmental work are supported in their role.”

This is the first Environment Bill in 20 years and it builds on one of the largest responses to a Defra consultation on the requirements for this draft legislation. The level of public interest in the Environment Bill is clearly demonstrated through the 176,746 responses.