As prime minister Rishi Sunak announced a Summer general election, the driving rain outside No 10 Downing Street was a fitting metaphor for the uncertain climate the UK’s farmers are struggling with.  

Against this backdrop of unpredictable weather, demonstrated by one of the wettest Winters on record, agriculture is also in a period of transition, requiring bold strategies to help feed the nation and manage the needs of a depleted and damaged environment.  

The Countryside Regeneration Trust (CRT) calls on all political parties to create effective policies that acknowledge a future where agricultural practices are perfectly aligned with the protection and restoration of the country's ecosystems. 

Whoever governs the UK must immediately take all necessary steps to implement an effective plan to reverse the rapid decline in nature while simultaneously ensuring the country's food security. 

We believe this can only be achieved by providing the right financial incentives to our farmers – support that enables them to produce the food required by the nation in a way that nurtures and safeguards the natural world. 

This effort demands a steadfast commitment to continually improving, enhancing, and simplifying Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs). 

Farmers should be allowed to work their land productively while also being appropriately compensated for their role as custodians of the countryside by enhancing natural habitats within agricultural landscapes through regenerative activities, such as planting hedgerows, restoring wetlands, and maintaining woodlands. 

We also welcome increased government investment in agricultural education and training programmes, equipping farmers with the skills and knowledge necessary for modern, sustainable, and nature-friendly farming techniques. 

Furthermore, the next government must ensure farmers receive fair prices for their produce by supporting local purchasing initiatives and direct-to-consumer markets, and where necessary, regulating supermarket practices to ensure fair trade for all UK farmers. 

One of the objectives of the CRT is to demonstrate how our working farms can provide many ecosystem services that humans enjoy, and that people and nature depend upon. Regardless of who governs after the next election, the challenge is to ensure all farmers are given the right level of help to deliver this on a nationwide scale. 


Bere Marsh Farm Dawn taken by Kinga Biernat © 20-05-2024

CRT objectives in full 

  • To demonstrate how working farms can provide many ecosystem services that humans enjoy, and that people and nature depend upon, including a liveable climate, healthy soil, food, and water.   

  • To maintain, restore and create habitats and spaces for nature, especially species and habitats that are threatened or have greatly declined across British farmland since the 1960s, and to monitor and showcase what our farms deliver. 

  • To support local food-based businesses and engage local communities in caring for the farmed countryside and its wildlife. 

  • To produce healthy food for local consumption and provide opportunities for rural businesses. 

  • To provide opportunities for local people to help care for our land and learn about the farm, its landscape and wildlife. We will reach out to communities around our farms to improve understanding about the role of our farms and the benefits they provide. 

  • To work in partnership with other local farming and environmental organisations to deliver benefits associated with a vibrant, nature-friendly farmed landscape across the wider landscape and locality.