Michael Gove will set out plans to end payments to rich farmers and redirect the money to environmental projects as part of a “Green Brexit”.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference on Thursday, the environment secretary will attack the “fundamentally flawed” Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that provides financial support to farmers in EU member states.
“The CAP was designed, like so many aspects of the EU, for another world, the post-war period when memories of food shortages were hauntingly powerful and the desire to support a particular model of land use was wrapped up with ideas of a stable countryside that seemed reassuringly attractive after the trauma of industrial-scale conflict,” he will say.
“Paying land owners for the amount of agricultural land they have is unjust, inefficient and drives perverse outcomes. It gives the most from the public purse to those who have the most private wealth.
“It bids up the price of land, distorting the market, creating a barrier to entry for innovative new farmers and entrenching lower productivity.”
Gove will add that CAP “perversely” rewards farmers for “sticking to methods of production that are resource-inefficient” and also “incentivises an approach to environmental stewardship which is all about mathematically precise field margins and not ecologically healthy landscapes”.
He will argue that once the UK leaves the EU, the British government will make money available to support environmental protection.
“Enhancing our natural environment is a vital mission for this Government. We are committed to ensuring we leave the environment in a better condition than we found it. And leaving the European Union allows us to deliver the policies required to achieve that - to deliver a Green Brexit,” he will say.
The speech is the latest in a flurry of announcements from Gove, a leading Brexiteer, who rejoined the cabinet as environment secretary after the snap election.
Among the policies designed to appeal to environmentalists are plans to introduce CCTV in all slaughterhouses, a ban on bee-killing pesticides, a reintroducing beavers into the UK, making the sale of products with microbeads illegal and a ban on ivory sales.