Government criticised for long delays to 25-year-plan for agriculture and environment

Government criticised for long delays to 25-year-plan for agriculture and environment.
Farmers have criticised the Government for the delays of the long-awaited two 25-year-plans for agriculture and the environment.Further delays to the publication are set to take place, having initially supposed to be published last summer.The Government has been seeking farmers’ views on a post-Brexit farming and environment policy.But Ministers have constantly changed their language surrounding the publication, saying the plans will be published ‘soon’, to ‘during this parliament’ – meaning it could be published any time from now to 2020, the UK’s next general election.Defra says the Government agrees with the need for a 25 year plan and intends to deliver on the commitments it says it has already made to protect the UK’s environmental assets, including: “putting in place a new ‘Blue Belt’ to protect precious marine habitats; spending £3 billion from the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England’s countryside over the next five years; planting an additional 11 million trees; launching an ambitious programme of pocket parks; tackling air and water pollution; and ensuring the value of Green Belts and AONBs, National Parks, SSSIs and other environmental designations are appropriately protected.”Avoiding policy suggestionsThe vote to leave the EU has forced a rethink of some of the content of the 25 year plan.
In fact, it has made the plan even more important, since it must now set out the direction of the government’s environmental policy once the UK is no longer a part of the EU.The BBC has received a leaked draft version of the 25-year plan for the environment.
It was strongly criticised for avoiding policy suggestions.ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton told BBC News: “To protect nature, we need targets, investment and accountability, not grand promises with zero detail.“We have been waiting for the 25-year plan for over a year.
This version is 46 pages of empty words, and now it seems the final plan might not even be published.
This is not good enough.”A Defra spokesman said: “We are committed to publish both a 25-year environment plan and food and farming plan.“We are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to inform development of the full plans.”

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