LUDLOW MP Philip Dunne has welcomed publication of the government’s long awaited Agricultural Transition Plan, to prepare farmers for moving away from the Common Agricultural Policy now the UK has left the European Union.

As the UK leaves the EU transition period each nation of the UK is able to take a unique approach to replacing the previous method of support.

In England, the government says it will support farmers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.

The Plan that it is hoped will please environmentalists includes incentives for environmentally sustainable farming, local nature recovery, and recovery of landscape and ecosystems.

The system will change between 2021 and 2024, with a phased reduction in direct support, affecting larger farmers the quickest, but intended to give farmers time to adapt. The government will also help farmers prepare for the new Environmental Land Management Scheme, due from 2024, but with pilots for up to 5,500 farmers being trialled earlier. The transition will include extensions to Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship, for those who already have an agreement, new Countryside Stewardship agreements, for those who want to undertake a wider range of more ambitious environmental activities, and core elements of the Sustainable Farming Incentive will be available to all farmers from 2022 onwards. Direct payments will be phased out from 2021, with the last being made in 2027.

“There is much to welcome in the Agricultural Transition Plan, including a move towards sustainable farming practices and effective lasting stewardship of the countryside, as we move away from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy with all its idiosyncrasies,” said Mr Dunne, who has responsibility for his family farm.