NFU Environment Forum priorities 2021-2023

25 September 2023

Environment and climate
A butterfly perched on a leaf

Find out about the NFU Environment Forum's priorities for its 2021-2023 term.

The NFU Environment Forum meets quarterly and when specific issues need attention, to discuss environmental issues which affect farming. It aims to create benefits from all farm businesses as well as the environment by working with members, other NFU commodity boards, government, government agencies and other stake holders to ensure farmers' views on the farmer environment are at the forefront of policy-making.


Shaping our iconic landscapes

As set out in the NFU’s Landscape & Access report, we will continue to advocate the need for recognition of the socio-economic and health and wellbeing benefits that agricultural businesses play in shaping our iconic rural landscapes.

Right tree, right place

Taking forward the NFU’s Tree Strategy, we will promote the need for considerations to include planting objectives, the right tree species sourced to match the location, local climate, soil type and the desired outcomes. Recognising the importance of food production, any proposals to change the use of land from agriculture must also be fully assessed.


A more integrated approach

Building on the NFU’s Integrated Water Management Strategy, we will continue to advocate the need for a long-term strategic plan designed to increase the resilience of agricultural businesses to future extreme weather events and one that takes a whole catchment approach. 

Quality that counts

Working with industry initiatives such as the Voluntary Initiative and Tried & Tested and in collaboration with stakeholders, we will advance increasing nutrient and pesticide efficiency and much need improvements to water quality supported through an advice-led approach that allows for innovation and sustainable productivity.

Soil health matters

Through the forthcoming consultation on the Soil Health Action Plan for England, we will advocate the need for flexible management options to help improve the productivity of our soil to feed the nation, but also to deliver a range of public goods such as carbon sequestration as well as mitigating against future climate change.


Land sharing, not land-sparing

In response to the expected Nature Green Paper, we will promote the need to maintain and increase our biodiversity through land management policies which can deliver practical benefits to the food production systems and the flora and fauna that coexist in the countryside.


We will continue to encourage participation in industry-led initiatives such as the Big Farmland Bird Count and Championing the Farmed Environment and continue to ensure that government schemes are accessible to all, with fair reward and farmers at the heart of design.

Responsible reintroductions

We will ensure engagement with organisations considering species reintroduction, ensuring where plans are being developed these fully consider the impacts on farming business, but also these organisations take responsibility for those impacts.

Carbon and climate change

Net Zero by 2040

Transforming farming productivity, increasing and managing farmland carbon storage in soils and vegetation are core to the work of the Forum.

Farming is part of the solution

We will translate the opportunities agriculture has to be a solution for climate change through continued promotion and engagement post-COP27.

Mitigation and adaptation

We will enable farm businesses to prepare for a future climate, better manage gradual change and to build resilience.


A low emission future

We will proactively promote the need for a range of policy measures to reduce our ammonia emissions and improve air quality, including through industry-led approaches, and for improvements in farm productivity and efficiency.

Public responsibility

Responsible access

The development of a modern and adaptable access network that meets the needs of both users and farm businesses will lie at the heart of our work on access and by promoting the updated Countryside Code, we will also increase awareness of how to enjoy the countryside in a responsible manner.

Tackling fly-tipping

We will continue to work with local authorities, the police and the Environment Agency on prevention, clean up and prosecution.

Environmental markets

New market opportunities

We will publish and promote policy principles that work for farming and help shape emerging environmental service market opportunities. 

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