The future of the British countryside: conservation and food production

The UK Government proposes to create a new system of paying farmers for enhancing the environment. The new payment system aims to arrest the decline in native species, the loss of productive soils and at enriching biodiversity.

Proponents argue that it will build resilience and bolster the long-term productivity and prosperity of food and farming businesses. However, the National Farmers Union says environmental payments may undermine the competitiveness of traditional British farming, increase food prices and cause a drift toward large-scale, industrialized production.

In this round-table discussion, we will examine whether environmental payments may have perverse outcomes at a national or international scale.