Farmers are reported to be paid to help restore natural habitats and revitalize the UK in government plans aimed at filling the void left by EU subsidies.
Environment Secretary George Eustice will make a full announcement on two new programs at the Oxford Farming Conference on Thursday.
The Sunday Telegraph says the plans include a local nature restoration program that will provide funds to build new habitats, plant trees, and restore peat and wetlands.
There is also a landscape restoration program in place to help bring the UK countryside back to the wild.
It is expected to be open to landowners and farmers or groups responsible for managing systems ranging from 500 to 5,000 hectares. The program is expected to start with funding for 15 projects.
In the newspaper reports, Mr. Eustice said: “Successful and profitable agricultural production is vital to our food security.
“We face challenges on issues such as the loss of biodiversity and climate change, so we must use our freedom from the EU’s common agricultural policy to establish a new system of rewards and incentives in agriculture.”
The government aims to halt UK species decline by 2030 and restore up to 300,000 hectares of habitat by the 2040s.
Opponents in agriculture have criticized the move, fearing it will focus on giving up land for rewilding rather than looking to support domestic food production and self-sufficiency.
Fears have also been raised that the changes will help wealthy landowners rather than the hundreds of tenants who make up half of the country’s agriculture.
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