INDUSTRY experts have broadly welcomed the latest Agriculture Bill published by the Government earlier this week.

The bill sets out how farmers and land managers in England will in the future be rewarded with public money for public goods – such as better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards, improved access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman said he hoped the bill would lead to a positive future for agriculture in Tynedale.

“This bill addresses concerns raised with me by farmers in Tynedale,” he said.

“It addresses financial support for the industry as we transition away from the Common Agricultural Policy. It protects and values our high animal welfare standards and it champions British food.

“In addition to this, it sets a new direction, further encouraging our farming community to support the UK’s environmental sustainability and to enhance flood alleviation work and countryside management.”

Mark Bridgeman, president of the Country Land and Business Association said the bill provided a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for British agriculture.

Adam Bedford, the NFU’s regional director in the North-East added that the new policies presented a more positive prospect for farmers across the North-East.

“That’s not to say that there aren’t important changes to the bill that we would like to see – most notably on standards – but it is certainly refreshing to see farmers’ vital role as food producers being recognised and valued,” he said.