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Brexit should benefit small farms, says CPRE

Industrial-scale farms should lose their subsidies once the UK divorces from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy as part of a new package of food and farming policies designed to shift the country from low prices to high value.

The plan is set out by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in its “New farming model” report, published this week.

In the paper, CPRE argues that farming in England needs to become more diverse to prove environmentally resilient and publicly accessible over the coming years. “Green farming” should be supported by “strong incentives”, CPRE noted.

Industrial farming “is now conventional and prevalent, with heavier machinery, reliance on chemicals, and many fewer workers. Food supply went up but prices came down, and supermarket expansion and competition supported a ‘de facto’ cheap food policy.”

Successive governments have failed to intervene with a food policy to tackle poor nutrition, food poverty, rising obesity or the cost to the nation’s health or health service, CPRE added. What is need is a “clear vision and strong leadership”.

Writing for the August issue of Footprint, WWF-UK expert Duncan Williamson said Brexit is an opportunity to make the UK a “world leader” when it comes to food laws and policy.