It followed rumours food production could be included in the Government’s plans for ‘public goods’.
More than 50 organisations have written to the Prime Minister to ensure plans to use public money for public goods will not be watered down.
The RSPB lead the call to Theresa May following rumours food production could be included in ‘public goods’ in forthcoming plans for the revamped Agriculture Bill, something it said would take away from biodiversity, animal welfare and public access.
A spokesperson said: “This threatens a potential u-turn on the commitment to re-orientate farm payments and reverse declines in the natural environment.”
Signees of the letter included the National Trust, Soil Association, RSPCA, Family Farmers’ Association, Friends of the Earth and the Pasture Fed Livestock Association.
The letter read: “In providing clarity now that future farm support will be centred around public goods, you can provide certainty and confidence that you are up for the challenge of securing a health, accessible environment and well looked after animals, alongside a thriving and self-reliant farming sector.
“We welcome the leadership you have shown so far on this issue, and look forward to working with you as the Agriculture Bill delivers on these commitments.”
RSPB conservation director Martin Harper said it was ‘deeply concerning’ to hear rumours ‘that the government was thinking of watering down the previously unequivocal focus on payments for public goods – those things we need, such as wildlife and clean water, but which we cannot pay for at the till.’
He said the government must stick to its own commitment in the 25-year plan to restore the natural environment.
John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK, who also signed the letter, added: “The Common Agricultural Policy has left Europe with a severely depleted natural environment.
“We now have one shot at reversing this catastrophic decline that has left Britain near the bottom of the league table.”