CLA welcomes return of Liz Truss as Environment Secretary

Liz Truss ANL-150413-115526001
Liz Truss ANL-150413-115526001
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The CLA has welcomed the reappointment of South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss as Environment Secretary and has urged her to tackle some issues urgently.

It has particularly highlighted the need for her to address the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) affecting all farmers and landowners.

CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “Every Government department needs to take account of the needs of the rural economy, and grasp this opportunity to help unlock the countryside’s economic, social and environmental potential.

“The CLA will continue to make the case that strong rural businesses are essential in creating jobs and vibrant communities, as well as protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

“The BPS roll-out needs to be examined and there needs to be clarification on how we move forward as soon as possible,” he said. “While the Rural Payments Agency’s decision to go back to paper in order to get the process back on track is welcomed, there is a real need to sort this out and get clarification on whether payments are going to made promptly.

“She also needs to work with landowners to deliver long-term water management that covers not only periods of drought, but extreme flooding too. There is also a need for a concerted push on tackling plant and animal pests and diseases, including ash dieback and bovine TB.”

He emphasised funding should be continuous for agri-tech to boost the efficiency of agriculture and productivity.

Thought also needs to be given to new ways of encouraging private sector funding to invest in the natural environment, he said.

He said the CLA was keen to work with Ms Truss to deliver a long-term strategy, not only for food and farming, but for growth across the rural economy.

The ministers of the new Government need to recognise their collective role in unlocking the countryside’s potential.

The organisation, which represents thousands of farmers, landowners, and rural businesses across the eastern region, said the new ministerial team must become champions of rural business if they are to deliver on their manifesto commitments.