Environment Secretary issues “top condition” challenge to the UK’s food industry

The UK’s £100 billion food industry needs the environment to be in top condition if it is to be at its most productive, Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, said yesterday during the launch of the government’s new national pollinator strategy.

Strongly welcomed by the National Farmers Union, the new strategy sets out to give “support for bees and other insects which play a vital role in pollinating crops and plants”.

In addition to the “pollinator core” to the Environment Secretary’s message, however, there were several other key statements of new commitment to the food and farming industry.

On farm business development, Ms Truss (pictured) commented: “My ambition is for British food and farming to lead the world. Food is already our biggest manufacturing industry, bigger than cars and aerospace combined, and it can grow much more.”

On science and research she said:  “Technology and data are driving our understanding of plants, animals and the environment, helping us create the conditions to deliver a healthy environment and a healthy economy.”

On future support for farmers in their care of the countryside, she added: “There will be payments for farmers to maintain hedgerows and strips of wildlife-friendly ground round the edges of arable fields, providing sources of nectar and nesting sites for insects. It will also be an incentive to provide forage year round, whether that is in crops or additional planting.”

She also issued a plea for a fresh display of unity concerning the debate on how the nation‘s land resources are managed:  “This government is committed to being the greenest ever. To achieve that, the debate has got to get beyond experts and special interest groups, beyond targets and summits. Beyond the polarised slanging match we so often hear: you’re an alarmist or a denier, a hippy or a gas-guzzler.

“The reality is different. We are making environmental and economic progress. They are not just compatible – they depend on each other.”

Access the Environment Secretary’s full speech

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