Clients may be interested to know that it has recently been reported in the press that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) wrote to stakeholders on 6th July declaring that it was delaying publication of:

  • Its 25 year environment plan – originally expected to have been produced by the end of 2016; and
  • The framework for the plan – originally expected in summer 2016.

Defra had first stated that it would produce the 25 year plan in its paper ‘The Government’s response to the Natural Capital Committee’s third State of Natural Capital report’, which was published in September 2015. The idea is to develop a strategy spanning the next 25 years aimed at protecting and managing the natural environment and consequently improving the benefits which we get from our natural resources.

Defra’s 25 year plan is to be based on advice provided by the Natural Capital Committee who recommended the plan in order to facilitate a healthy natural economy, fulfilling the following aims:

  1. Provide people with the opportunity to use, enjoy and engage with the natural environment;
  2. Identify and protect our most important and endangered environmental assets so that we can prioritise investment in those assets;
  3. Help both individuals and organisations at regional, national and international levels to understand the economic social and cultural value of nature and the impact that their actions have on it, and to then use this knowledge to facilitate the design of sustainable financing models;
  4. Focus policies on delivering better environmental outcomes; and
  5. Assist the government in delivering on various natural capital related commitments including the proposed new Blue Belt (designed to protect precious marine habitats), planting an additional 11 million trees, tackling air and water pollution and continuing to protect Green Belts, National Parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Defra revealed, in their letter to stakeholders, that the 25 year plan has now had to be postponed as it did not take into account the UK’s shock exit from the EU and stated that “the outcome of the EU referendum vote provides us with the opportunity to expand the scope of the plan to consider a long-term vision for the type of environment we want in Britain outside of the EU”.

Part of Defra’s 25 year plan was originally aimed at allocating £3 billion that Britain was to receive from the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in order to enhance England’s countryside over the next 5 years.  However, post-Brexit the government are no doubt awaiting clarification of the implications for CAP, agricultural subsidies and rural land in general before being in a position to formulate a new UK agriculture trade model.

If clients have any queries relating to either the 25 year plan or post-Brexit implications for their agricultural business please don’t hesitate to contact Myerson Solicitors who will be happy to assist.

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