Since leaving the European Union the UK has embarked on a period of unparalleled legislative change, and changes to agricultural law and policy have been no exception.
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are currently introducing new agricultural legislation and developing policy to replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and we believe that the voices of small-scale agroecological farmers should be influence this transition. See below for more information on our lobbying and policy work to guide a just agricultural transition in England, Wales and Scotland.
Jyoti Fernandes engages with the work of DEFRA to influence the whole of the emerging Future Farming Programme since the Landworkers’ Alliance is recognised as a key stakeholder. Jyoti is active on the ELMS Engagement Group (the EEG) to input on the impact of the emerging Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes and to make the case for a number of measures to support our members including:
- Whole farm management incentives which reward integrated pest management, nutrient management and soil health
- Removal of the 5 hectare eligibility threshold
- Organic conversion and maintenance payments
- Public engagement payments with specific incentives to diversity and inclusion for those who have less access to nature
- Hedgerow creation and maintenance payments
- On-farm woodland and agroforestry payments
- Agrobiodiversity payments to keep rare-breed livestock, maintain traditional orchards and grow heritage vegetables and grains.
Together with Rebecca Laughton (LWA’s Horticulture Campaign Coordinator) Jyoti has also been working on developing Horticulture payments through the ELMS scheme through a DEFRA funded test and trial to make ELMS work for the Horticulture Sector. Learn more about the pilot scheme by watching this video.
Our Future Farming Resilience (FFR) team also delivers DEFRA funded advice to farmers and land managers to encourage agroecological farming and direct local supply chains. You can read more about the FFR ‘Your Farming Future’ programme yma.
We are also supporting Urban and Peri-urban farms (farms on the perimeter of cities) through our Fringe Farming Project together with Sustain and other key partners. You can read our report yma.
We also lobby for capital grants schemes which provide support appropriate to the needs of agroecological farm businesses and horticultural enterprises, as well as more support for agroecology in the Agricultural Research & Development budget.
Tara Wight leads on our Scotland policy and campaigns work, and has been working with allied food and farming organisations in Scotland to ensure that Scotland’s post-Brexit agricultural legislation and policy paves the way for just transition for our farming system, founded on principles of environmental and social justice.
In 2021, the Scottish government carried out a consultation on agricultural transition in Scotland, responses to which will feed into the development of new agricultural policy. LWA members from across the country contributed their thoughts and experience to respond to this consultation, ensuring the voice of agroecological landworkers was heard at this key stage of policy development. We demanded substantial reform of agricultural subsidies, including an end to unjust area-based payments, and advocated for support and training for farmers to transition to more ecologically and socially sound farming systems. We also focused on the need for support for ‘land-sharing’ practises such as agroecology, which support the improvement of biodiversity on farms, rather than ‘land-sparing’ practises in which ‘rewilding’ of certain areas is coupled with intensification of agriculture in others.
Our full response to the consultation on agricultural transition in Scotland can be found here.
Following Brexit, the subsidy scheme for farmers in Wales will be changing. Welsh Government have proposed a transition away from the current Basic Payment scheme, where payments were based primarily on area of land farmed (a grossly unfair system that rewarded wealth and excluded small farmers entirely) to one in which farmers and other landworkers will be paid for actions that create environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration, flood management and biodiversity. If agreed, these changes are expected to start from 2025.
Welsh Government has been consulting on these changes since 2018. Holly Tomlinson has been leading on LWA Cymru’s policy work and responding the Welsh Government’s proposals, highlighting:
- The ways in which our members are already demonstrating many of the benefits welsh Government is seeking to achieve;
- The challenges that our members face; and
- Policies changes that could help create a better food and farming system and support sustainable, living, working woodlands.
You can read our summaries of Welsh Government consultations and our responses to them here.