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Press release

Statement on the Environment Secretary’s speech at the Oxford Farming Conference

 Farming at Buckden, Upper Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales
Farming at Buckden, Upper Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales | © National Trust Images/Ben Selway

Our statement following the speech of Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay, at the Oxford Farming Conference today, 4 January 2024.

"We welcome today's announcements on the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship and Landscape Recovery. The uplifts in payment rates and additional premiums to engage more farmers and incentivise a range of nature-friendly actions at scale are encouraging, as are the commitments to double Higher Tier agreements taken forward, increase support for farmers looking to access advice, and use public funding to leverage private finance.

“We now need more detail on the pathway towards 2028 – beginning with clearer information on what types of action are needed where and a spending strategy to ensure ELM roll-out has a meaningful impact on nature and climate targets – while urging the government to address the worrying gaps left by the ending of cross compliance, and setting out how Local Nature Recovery Strategies will interact with ELM.

“The Government has said that it wants to see food production and the environment go hand-in-hand in a mutually reinforcing way. We remain keen to help make that happen while accelerating the recovery of nature, protecting our natural and historic environment, and building resilience in the face of a changing climate."