Brexit is expected to affect farming more than most sectors of the economy. Yet over 70% of the UK is farmed and agriculture plays a critical role shaping the landscape and our environment.
In a major new report for the RSPB, we assess and map the potential impacts of Brexit on farms and farmland wildlife across the UK. The report focuses on two potential drivers of change – a decrease in financial support for farmers, and a ‘no trade deal’ scenario – acting as a ‘stress test’ to help identify key risks and opportunities for the environment.
The report highlights that many UK farms may be vulnerable to economic shifts resulting from Brexit and some farming systems are inherently more vulnerable than others, with fewer opportunities to adapt and build resilience. This is particularly true of economically marginal livestock farming systems in upland and other areas facing natural constraints.
Economic changes arising from Brexit could drive shifts in farm structure, land management and land use across all sectors. The scale and direction of these changes is likely to vary between and within sectors, and could have mixed consequences for the environment.
The report highlights the vital role for public policy to shape the future of UK agriculture as we leave the EU, and to support farmers and land managers to make this transition in a way that maximises the environmental benefits and minimises the environmental risks.
For more information, please contact Paul Silcock.