I am delighted that constituents are taking the opportunity to respond to the UK Government’s consultation, and I fully share your views that environmental sustainability should be at the heart of our future agriculture system. Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has made clear that he would also like this to be the case.
Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) means we can do much more for our environment. In England, the Government plans to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods: principally environmental enhancement. As you may know, in Scotland, it will be for the Scottish Government to bring forward designs for a future agricultural policy.
I do have concerns that the SNP administration has not, to date, brought forward any plans for a replacement system after the UK has left CAP. We leave the EU in March next year, and the farming industry needs to plan ahead. Given this, I am calling on the SNP to urgently publish their proposals, and I hope these, like is planned in England, will put environmental sustainability at the heart of our agriculture system.