Agriculture occupies 70% of land within the United Kingdom (Source: Defra). It's important not only for its role in shaping the rural settlements and landscapes we value, but also as a major economic driver in rural economies. Agricultural production is essential for food security.
British farms currently grow the raw ingredients for the UK food and drink manufacturing sector worth £108 billion. For every £1 invested, farming delivers £7.40 back to this country. Farmers maintain the countryside, footpaths and traditional buildings that attract local and international visitors, and rural business but do not always directly benefit financially.
Many of the jobs within the food supply chain are also regionally based, with wider socio-economic impacts for rural economies. This valuable sector needs more recognition for its economic value in town planning decisions.
Brexit offers British Farmers both opportunities and challenges. Our population levels are continuing to grow and to need more housing land. Total Income From Farming has fallen for the past three years and British farming currently produces only 60% of the nation’s food (Source: Defra). In response, the farming sector needing to increase its productivity levels overall, to innovate, to meet supply chain demands, and to maintain the Uk's higher welfare and environmental requirements.
How the planning system directs land use development and how this is subsequently managed can and will impact on the best and most versatile agricultural land and how farm businesses can operate in the future.Decision makers need to ensure that they both understand and value farming when determining all forms of planning application and preparing plan-led documents.