The Countryside Alliance has outlined what it believes should be the key aspects in a new British agricultural policy to replace the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.

In preparation for life post-Brexit, the UK Government has been consulting on plans to introduce a policy framework for agriculture and provide a new system of support in England post-Brexit.

The devolved administrations have also been consulting on plans for new policies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Five-point plan

The Government is expected to publish the long-awaited Agriculture Bill shortly and MPs will have the chance to debate it in Parliament later this year.

According to the Countryside Alliance, there are five key areas that any new agricultural policy must address.

These are:

  • Promote productive and competitive farming;
  • Support the work of other land managers;
  • Encourage diversification and public engagement;
  • Address the digital divide;
  • Sustain upland landscapes and communities.

The Countryside Alliance’s new document states that a new agricultural policy must start with the objective of securing a productive and competitive farming industry by supporting farmers in their task of producing food.

It also calls for recognition of the close relationship between farming and country sports. While measures to improve digital infrastructure and skills must be included in a new system of support payments.

Vital industry

Commenting on the document, Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, highlighted the importance of the food and farming industry is nationally and generates over £108 billion a year for the UK economy.

Lee also mentioned the vital role that the agricultural sector has in rural areas.

"It is often central to the economic and social life of the community as well as playing a vital role in conservation," she said.

One of the primary objectives for the Countryside Alliance is to ensure that the close relationship between farming and country sports is allowed to continue in a new system of support payments.