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National Audit Office report published on Defra’s approach to new Farming programme

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

On 5 June 2019, the National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report providing an early review on….

….Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s (Defra) approach to develop the new Future Farming and Countryside Programme (the Programme), as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

The report examines the current Programme to date, the objectives that it intends to meet and the timeframe which has been set out on delivering these objectives. The report will also look at aspects of the Programme, flagging any issues and risks that need to be considered in order for a successful delivery.

Some of the key findings include:

  • That the success of the Programme depends on key assumptions about take-up and how the farming community responds to these changes.
  • Farmers will have little time to prepare for participation in the pilot because the government has not yet made decisions about which outcomes it will pay for or how much it will pay.
  • Concerns that whilst Defra aims to reduce the complexity of enforcement and introduce more self-regulation, both of which increase the risk of fraud in the Programme.

The NAO recommendations include ensuring that Defra determine the level of Environmental Land Management systems take-up will be adequate to justify investment and put in place a plan with realistic timescales based on farmers ability to adapt to the new framework.


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Tom Warrender


Tom Warrender


Tom is a Partner and Commercial Property Solicitor with a wealth of experience acting for clients both locally and nationally since 2005.