Submission covers land managment, ecosystem services and climate change resilience

The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into the Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum closed on 9 September. The committee sought responses on the following issues:

• What are the implications for UK biodiversity of leaving the EU?
• How should future support for UK agriculture be structured in order to ensure there are incentives for environmentally-friendly land management?
• How should future UK agri-environment support be administered, and what outcomes should it focus on?
• What are the prospects and challenges for future environmental stewardship schemes in the devolved administrations?
• What are the future risks and opportunities to innovative land practices, such as managed rewilding?

In the UK there is a spatial planning system to regulate development in urban areas, in contrast to the more diffuse public intervention process which influences the way land is managed and developed in the countryside. In our submission to the committee the LI identified the need to:

• support the farming community to secure sustainable food production
• prevent land management activities from generating unintended consequences beyond management/ownership boundaries and affecting future generations
• ensure that successful land management systems have certainty over the long term, beyond the current political and economic programme
• realise the potential of the rural landscape to deliver, through ecosystem services, multiple benefits for society, the environment and the economy
• develop greater resilience to the effects of climate change.

Prior to the referendum, Defra announced its intention to publish a Food and Farming Strategy separately from its 25-year Environment Plan. The LI is one of a number of national organisations that recommended that these plans be fully integrated as one plan. It believes that this should become a National Rural Land Management Policy and the withdrawal from CAP provides an excellent opportunity to develop this idea. This will lead to a transformation of the way the countryside is managed to meet the needs of current and future generations.

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