Farmers in Wales should have to fill out an annual ‘sustainability survey’ in order to be eligible to receive public money after Brexit, a leading food charity has said.
The Sustainable Food Trust suggested farmers should monitor, among other things, soil organic carbon levels and microbial life; air and water quality; levels of on-farm biodiversity; energy and resource use efficiency; high-welfare management of livestock, climate change mitigation and social and cultural benefits.
In written evidence to the Welsh Government’s consultation on Environmental Principles and Governance in Wales Post-EU Exit, the group said this kind of assessment would provide a better understanding of the national situation for each public good, such as biodiversity or net carbon emissions, and allow for more targeted interventions to help meet particular goals.
The charity also suggested farmers should be encouraged to progressively increase their environmental commitments ‘since all farms can become more sustainable’.
The responses to the consultation will be fed into the Welsh Government’s existing Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
Honor May Eldridge, head of policy at the Sustainable Food Trust, said: “The Future Generation Act is one of the most significant pieces of environmental legislation which has been seen anywhere in the world.
“This consultation can help deliver the next step towards a sustainable future. It is time to reverse the damage intensive farming has done to our land and ecosystems.
“We believe Welsh farmers are best-placed to deliver this vision of an environmental Wales since they are the true guardians of the land and can deliver public goods for the whole country.”