The Government is still failing to reduce the impact of UK farming on our environment - despite promising to take action a year ago, a new report reveals today.
Agriculture Minister Jim Paice promised at a farming conference last year that the Government would "play its part" in making UK farming more sustainable, but a Friends of the Earth Report Card, based on an assessment by the environmental charity, shows progress has been mainly poor. The Report Card shows the Government has:
. failed to push for planet-friendly farming reforms to Common Agriculture Policy (we awarded them a D);
. failed to encourage the use of more food waste for animal feed (they got an F in our Report Card);
. failed to produce clearer public advice and industry guidance on healthy diets (another F);
. missed a major opportunity to promote better ingredients and healthier menus in canteens in schools and hospitals (grade D).
However, some progress was found on research into alternatives to soy for animal feed (lifting the Report Card with a B) and recognised the potential of a new government project - called the Green Food Project - which is investigating how to increase production whilst protecting the environment (grade C).
The environment charity is also urging the Government to keep its promise to announce a new Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill in the Queen’s Speech - to improve the treatment of farmers by the big supermarket chains.
Campaigner Vicki Hird said: "Ministers are failing to tackle the enormous impact food production has on our wildlife and landscapes - they must step up to the plate and insist on planet-friendly food and farming.
"There has been some progress on research into environment-friendly farming practices, especially alternatives to soy for livestock feeds but, given the enormous damage caused by the UK livestock industry, this won’t make the grade.
"We can’t allow our food system to cost the earth - the Government must do better."