30 November 2020
Green peer Natalie Bennett has responded to the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan, intended to support the farming sector and replace the CAP payments on which so many farmers depend. 
Baroness Bennett said:
“Although limiting payments for the wealthiest farmers makes sense, the proposal to cut agricultural subsidies in half as EU support disappears is a betrayal of our farmers and the rural communities they are at the heart of. Coming together with the pressure on exports from post-Brexit tariffs this will be a body-blow to an industry that is of vital importance to our very survival.
“This government likes to portray the UK as ‘world -leading’ and this is sadly true when it comes to the destruction of nature. The 70% of our land that is agricultural must be used to maximize carbon capture and restore our depleted wildlife as a matter of urgency. This plan for a leisurely process of trials and gradual implementation over a decade is grossly negligent against the backdrop of nature and climate emergencies.
“We also need our farmers to respond to changing consumer tastes as a growing number of people adopt plant-based diets. Government should support training and offer transition grants to promote a shift towards vegetable growing, something that would reduce the climate impact of our diets and improve public health.
“We need to see the same kind of urgency that we saw a decade ago to rescue the banks but this time to rescue the natural world. Issues such as protecting and restoring peatlands, slashing the use of pesticides, enhancing habitats for farmland birds, and of course planting trees and supporting natural regeneration should be a matter of priority.”