More than 44,000 responses received in Defra's farming consultation

Responses to the consultation will now be analysed and the government will publish a response shortly (Photo: Alex Segre/REX/Shutterstock)
Responses to the consultation will now be analysed and the government will publish a response shortly (Photo: Alex Segre/REX/Shutterstock)

The government has received more than 44,000 responses for Defra's consultation on the future for food, farming and the environment once the UK leaves the EU.

In the last week alone, nearly 20,000 responses were submitted to the ‘Health & Harmony’ consultation which closed on Tuesday 8 May.

It is considered the biggest government consultation on farming since 1947.

Farmers, along with those in the wider industry, shared their views on everything from the support the government gives to farmers to the broader direction of policy post-Brexit when it comes to the natural world.



Throughout the 10 week consultation, Defra hosted 17 events across the country alongside groups including the National Trust, NFU and the Eden Project, to hear from more than 1,250 representatives of the UK’s food and farming sectors.

The consultation is seen as a once in a generation chance to ensure farming’s voice is heard when it matters – as the UK government shapes future agriculture policy.



The NFU said the decisions made today will impact food and farming for years to come.

'Thoughtful ideas'

Defra Secretary Michael Gove said the consultation will give the government the opportunity to improve the support given to farmers.

"It’s great news that so many people have responded so enthusiastically to our consultation," Mr Gove said.

"We can make farming more productive, improve the quality of the food we eat and enhance our natural environment. We’ll reflect on the many thoughtful ideas put forward in response to our consultation and bring forward our plans for legislation later this year."

The consultation included proposals to redirect payments under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) which are based on the amount of land farmed, to a new system of paying farmers public money for public goods, principally their work to enhance the environment.

It highlighted a number of public goods which could be supported such as biodiversity, high animal welfare standards and improved soil health.



Responses to the consultation will now be analysed and the government will publish a response shortly.