Brexit news: Michael Gove says EU exit will boost UK farmers and countryside | UK | News

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Mr Gove has stated that Brexit will allow the UK to take better care of its natural environment, provide additional assistance to farmers and cut bureaucratic costs linked to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Commenting on the Government’s new Agriculture Bill, due to be published today, he told The Telegraph: “It will reward farmers properly at last for the work they do to enhance the environment around us.

“It will help them grow more high quality food in a more sustainable way.

“And it will ensure public money is spent more efficiently and effectively.”

Around 70 percent of UK land is managed by farmers, with 475,000 employed in the sector according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Mr Gove claimed the Government’s Bill will “support farmers in getting a decent price for the food they produce” and clamp down on “unfair trading practices along the supply chain”.

He added that once we leave the EU, “we can ensure we devote public money to enriching wildlife habitats, preventing flooding, improving the quality of air and help manage and mitigate the effects of climate change”.

Mr Gove was fiercely critical of the CAP, the EU’s current agricultural programme, saying: “Whilst we have been subject to the rules of the CAP our environment has suffered.

“Valuable habitats have been lost, the number of farmland birds has dropped and the health of the soil has been eroded.

“The complex rules governing this process have inhibited innovation and added bureaucratic costs to food production.”

The CAP imposes a system of agricultural subsidies across the EU, at a cost of nearly 40 percent of the bloc’s annual budget.

It has long been criticised in the UK by eurosceptics, who argue it encourages overproduction and is wasteful.

Mr Gove also announced the Government is planning to introduce a new Environment Bill next year.

He claimed: “This will include a number of measures such as a focus on improving air quality, specific environmental principles and the establishment of a new independent environment body.”

In July, NFU president Minette Batters claimed a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be “the Armageddon scenario”.

She added: “That has to be avoided.”

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