The next prime minister should press ahead with changes to agricultural subsidies that prioritize protecting nature and the environment Attacks on policies From within the Conservative Party, prominent Green Conservative Tory Ben Goldsmith has urged.
“Environmental land management contracts must be defended at all costs,” he told the Guardian. They linked agricultural subsidies to stewardship and the restoration of soil and nature. It stimulates the transition to more Renewable Agriculture. They are making room for nature. They are a huge asset to the natural environment in this country.”
Environmental land management contracts (ELMs) are a cornerstone of the government’s post-Brexit reform of agricultural subsidies. By offering “public money for public goods”, farmers are supposed to reward it Measures such as soil carePlanting and preserving trees, providing wildlife habitats, and caring for waterways, helping to protect the natural environment.
But they arrived recently under attack From the National Union of Farmers, Labor and the Liberal Democrats, as well as sections of the Conservative Party. Agriculture leaders argued that rising food prices meant that more efforts should be devoted to food production, rather than rebuilding or other environmental schemes.
Goldsmith said this was a wrong choice, as do ELMs are side by side Food production and efficiency increases, if less food is wasted and land allocation for livestock feeding is reduced. “The idea that we cannot create streaks and patches of brutality in this country is a folly.”
The two remaining Tory leadership candidates – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – will face pressure from farmers over ELMs, and may want to walk away from some specific projects with Boris Johnson, raising questions about green policies.
Goldsmith, who has interests in resupply, warned farmers not to give up ELMs. “The National Farmers’ Union risks winning the battle and losing the war,” he said, because if the ELMs are canceled, the future chancellor may decide to end all agricultural subsidies. “You run the risk that the entire rural payments budget will be canned.”
Goldsmith, the UK’s most prominent Green Conservative party outside Parliament and the politician’s brother Zach Goldsmith – Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the House of Lords – is a venture capitalist and head of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), a group of more than 100 MPs.
CEN has been key to persuading most leadership candidates, including the latter two, to sign a pledge to maintain green policies, including ELMs and the UK’s legally binding target for access net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, there are still fears of a new prime minister It can weaken green policies or fail to give them the necessary boost to achieve government goals.
a supportive of johnsonGoldsmith said he was resigning from his current position as non-executive director of Defra, albeit not in protest.
He has held this position for nearly five years, overseeing a period of intense change including three major new pieces of legislation – the Environmental Act, the Agriculture Act and the Fisheries Act – and The biggest change in farm policy In 40 years. His tenure was due to expire in six months, but he said he decided to go early to smooth the transition to Khalifa and pursue his reconfiguration interests.
Johnson, according to Goldsmith, was an advocate for environmental issues. “Despite all his faults, he has a sense of holiness. Growing up in Exmoor, he sees the beauty of nature and understands the importance of nature, it comes to him naturally.”
The next Conservative leader will face an electoral backlash if they do this Repealed Johnson’s green policiesGoldsmith said, as polls show people support action on the environment. “It would be reckless to roll back [green] policies of this government. There is a growing understanding in this country that we live in one of the most draining countries on Earth. It is very important that you remain active in this matter.”
Truss and Snack introduced beneficial environmental policies while in Cabinet, according to Goldsmith. As chancellor, Sunak set up the £750 million Nature Fund for Climate, while Truss as Foreign Secretary oversaw the expansion of overseas development aid for climate and nature restoration. “Sunak’s record in nature isn’t bad. I’m not sure if he gets it individually, but I’m optimistic based on his record as a consultant. With Liz Truss, all of nature’s big politics have happened since her time [as secretary of state] in Devra, but as Secretary of State has greatly enhanced nature’s international recovery.”
But while he refuses to gravitate toward what he prefers as prime minister – “I don’t know enough to vouch for either” – Goldsmith is scathing about the potential appointment of Mark Spencer, leader of the House of Commons and former Whip chief, as Devra’s foreign minister if Sunak wins. It would be a terrifying prospect. That could be a disaster.”
Instead, Goldsmith hopes that the current environment secretary – George Eustice, who along with his predecessor Michael Gove is credited with successfully guiding key environmental legislation and policy change in the five years of his membership on Defra’s board – will remain in office.
Goldsmith, son of Sir James Goldsmith, the financier and founder of the eurosceptic British Referendum Party, said the ELM changes were beneficial to Brexit. “Under the old regime [the EU’s common agricultural policy]The taxpayers paid the rich landowners based only on how much land they farm…the richer you are, the more money you get from the taxpayers. How can you justify that? “
If the ELMs are successful, Goldsmith believes that private sector companies will also give farmers money for the environmental goods and services they provide. For example, water companies and flood insurance companies can pay farmers to maintain catchment areas and keep waterways in good shape, and farmers can also be paid to store carbon.
Goldsmith plans to use similar deals with private companies to demonstrate that retrofitting can be a commercial as well as environmental success, with projects in partnership with Charlie Burrell of Knepp, Country estate in West Sussex That shifted from agriculture to resettlement.
He said rebuilding could provide access to nature for city dwellers, and improve health and well-being. “Something has changed in society since the lockdowns, which require the natural world. [Rewilding can] Helping people reconnect on a visceral level with nature.”
He said much of the British people’s attitude to nature in the past was “dominant and dominant”. pointing to kill badger and opposing Return beavers“The first thing a lot of people do is get a gun,” he added.
He believes that when it comes to rebuilding, people need help to see the benefits. “The fundamental problem is psychological related to our need to control nature. We need to let go of it, to allow nature to be restored.” “There is this fear [if we rewild] We will starve, or those who do not starve will be eaten by wolves. But the idea that you can’t make room for nature in our landscapes is absurd.”
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