Spring is definitely in the air and as Westminster (and the nation) set out roadmaps for a safe return to ‘regular ways of working’, NFFN’s public affairs team is looking forward to the opportunities for engagement and education on our work across 2021!
We were disappointed that the Environment Bill was (yet again) delayed by the UK Government earlier this year but eagerly anticipate its return to the House of Lords in May/June (dates tbc) and are working hard with partners in this interim period to stress to the Government the need to utilise this time as effectively as possible, to ensure that this landmark piece of legislation properly hits the spot! As soon as we have sight of the Bill’s return, we will be asking members and supporters to use their voice again and ensure that this Bill delivers for the natural environment, linking with other policies and pieces of legislation – something that has sadly been lacking to date.
We continue to engage with Governments and partners around tackling climate change, stressing that there can be “no solution to climate change without farmers” – a point made by our UK Chair, Martin Lines in the Famer’s Guardian earlier this week. As we continue along the road to COP26, as well as COP15 and other biodiversity conferences, it remains imperative that the voice of nature-friendly farmers is included in the strategy and development of policy, when looking to tackle climate change. The UK Government has a unique opportunity this year to lead the world in this area, an ambition we intend to hold them to!
Development of the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs), the cornerstone of the Government’s new agricultural policy, continues but we remain genuinely concerned at the potential loss of ambition in this scheme, which we so welcomed with its initial introduction! To be properly effective, this scheme needs to embrace the positive practices of nature-friendly farming, supporting, and accelerating our work, to reach even more people.
We continue to work closely with Defra and others on ELMs and related matters, including recently supporting Sustain’s latest co-authored report: ‘Why whole farm systems must be central to Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition plan’ – keep checking our website and social media for activity on this and we would welcome any thoughts that our members or supporters have on this, or any of our work.
We know that the last 12 months have been challenging for many people and we will continue to be your voice in Parliament and beyond, sharing inspiring stories and campaigning for positive change!