The new Agriculture Bill due to be introduced to Parliament this month will include a legal requirement for the Government to carry out regular food security audits.
Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers confirmed looking at the UK’s level of food self-sufficiency would be ‘an important part’ of the reviews.
She made an announcement about the new provisions in the Bill at Oxford Farming Conference today (January 8).
“Preparing for a possible no-deal outcome, including focus on potential disruption at Dover, has provided a timely reminder of the acute importance of domestic food production,” she said.
“I firmly believe society’s approach to farming hugely underestimates its significance in several ways.
“Its importance to the wider rural economy, for environmental stewardship, for keeping the cost of living down and feeding the nation.
“In an uncertain world, food security is an issue we must take seriously and this is a point I always emphasise around the cabinet table.”
Ms Villiers is aiming for the new Bill to be passed by April at the latest, in order for the planned phase-out of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to begin in 2021.
More detail about how the transition from BPS to the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) will be managed will be available in an updated policy statement accompanying the Bill.