Making public goods pay

Calf grazing outdoors

We've worked with the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts to produce landmark research that reveals at least £2.9 billion is needed to support farmers and land managers to help in meeting existing UK commitments to restore nature and tackle climate change.

Farmers and landowners are crucial to the recovery of nature. Now that we've left the European Union, we need new agricultural policies across the four countries of the UK that reward farmers and land managers who play a key role in reversing the decline of wildlife and our shared natural environment.

This is not just important to tackle the current ecological crisis, it is also essential to nurture a resilient food and farming sector.

Our joint research shows that at least £2.5 billion is needed to support farmers and land managers to pay for public goods such as creating and enhancing wildlife habitats, planting trees, protecting soils to enable farming to continue in future, and to ensure clean water, for us to drink and for wildlife to thrive in.

But more is needed, the research also asks about:

  • the costs of providing supporting advice;
  • delivering public goods in places where the farming system itself is important for nature, such as in parts of the uplands;
  • the costs to lock-in the public goods associated with long term land use change;
  • and the role of alternative payment approaches.

When these other costs are factored in, the estimated budget increases to at least £2.9 billion. 

Crucially, this research demonstrates that supporting farmers and land managers to play their part in recovering nature and tackling the effects of climate change is affordable.

We can repurpose the public money already spent on farming, to deliver public goods through new nature-friendly farming policies in each of the four countries of the UK. Doing so will also nurture sustainable and resilient farming and land management.