A wildlife charity has shown its support for plans to reward farmers for benefitting the environment post-Brexit. 

At a farming conference in Oxford on Thursday, Environment Secretary Michael Gove outlined plans to replace “unjust” farm subsidies based on the amount of land owned, with funding to support farmers to provide public benefits including environmentally friendly practices and better access to the countryside.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has now spoken out in support of the idea. 

DWT says the plan would involve the creation of a range of initiatives that would protect and enhance wildlife, as well as restore the health of the countryside that the farming industry relies on. It would include the creation of wildflower meadows, planting of woods, creation of habitats for wildlife and improved flood management.

Wildlife Trusts across the country have recently produced a vision for the future of farming that highlights the potential benefits of the approach Mr Gove will take.

According to DWT these benefits include healthy soils, clean water, clean air and climate change mitigation, flood risk management, bigger and better natural habitats, thriving wildlife, abundant pollinators, and healthy people. The Wildlife Trusts claim that they can be achieved more cheaply than the EU’s current system.

Dr Simon Cripps, chief executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “This very day we stand on the cusp of a revolution in how we protect and manage the countryside on which we are all dependant, either for food, health or enjoyment.

“I believe Mr Gove’s plans announced today will result in a more prosperous, healthy and enjoyable country and countryside. We are finally, after over a century of thinking we are above nature rather than a part of it, valuing our wildlife and environment as our life support system.

“The plans will benefit both nature and the farming industry by giving farmers the financial support they need to benefit society.”

Mr Gove said the government would guarantee subsidies at the current level until the 2022 election, after which there would be a ‘transitional period’.

Read the Wildlife Trusts’ vision for the future at Visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/campaigns_wildlife_protection