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The Future of Farming


The Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has recently launched a consultation on the Future of Farming in the UK to follow Brexit and loss of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The consultation can be found here:

It has a deadline of 8 May 2018. An example of a completed consultation form from a North Hertfordshire and Stevenage Green Party member can be seen by clicking here along with a summary letter shown below. Please note both the letter and the consultation answers are the individual member’s opinion only, and are here to provide some helpful background to your own response if you wish to respond to the consultation.


Agriculture Consultation Team

1b - Future Farming Directorate
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Nobel House
17 Smith Square
SW1P 3JR 1 April 2018

Dear Agriculture Consultation Team,

I have answered the online consultation regarding the future of farming in the UK

Overall the consultation is contradictory, demanding both increased productivity/profitability and suggesting a change of focus to looking after the environment. Unfortunately, it feels as if there are plenty of gaps and loopholes built in so that business as usual can continue.


  • There is no mention of regulations against environmental degradation, or penalties for acting against the new, post-CAP ethics. Although a move towards the Polluter Pays principle is hinted at, it is not explored.
  • There is no mention of independent monitoring of environmental or welfare outcomes which is crucial to effectiveness.
  • There is no mention of reducing prophylactic antibiotic use. In fact, antibiotic use could increase as there is a repeated emphasis on “animal health”.
  • There is no mention of reducing pesticide use, which must be one of the most urgent problems facing the UK, hacking at the foundation of bird and animal life.
  • Bees are named as the one type of insect to be preserved and it seems very odd that other pollinators and other insects fall outside consideration.
  • There is no mention of encouragement towards organic (mostly pesticide-free) farming.
  • There is no mention of an improvement in animal welfare. In fact, animal welfare slides out of the questions altogether, and the consultation encourages reduced inspection rates, with a lot of “resting on our laurels” by saying we’re the best in the world.
  • There is no mention of a change away from livestock farming in the light of greatly increased numbers of vegetarians and vegans. When the problem of slurry is mentioned as a potent polluter there is no mention of trying to reduce the quantity of livestock farming and hence slurry. If livestock farming were reduced: water, and land used for growing feed would be liberated; animal cruelty would be less; and human health would increase.

With thanks for the opportunity to respond to this consultation.

Yours faithfully,
Diana J Newson