Michael Gove, as environment secretary, has made Greenpeace UK’s day by saying that farming subsidies must be earned and benefit the environment.

Looking for a ‘green Brexit,’ Michael Gove may only be prepared to hand out payments when farmers agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life.

“Huge news! Michael Gove has just said farming subsidies must be earned and benefit the environment” – Greenpeace UK

The current £3bn pot spent on the environment is likely to remain at the same level until 2022. The environment secretary is looking to abolish the EU’s current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and end the way the UK’s farmers are paid based on the amount of land they farm.

Mr Gove has openly criticised the CAP system and Brexit offers the opportunity to break free and prevent money from falling into the hands of some of the UK’s wealthiest landowners who may do little to adhere to good environmental practice.

Current CAP recipients can be paid up to £3m a year and environmentalists will applaud the government’s openness to change, and it won’t come a day too soon with one in ten species in the UK facing major extinction (State of Nature report 2016).

In contrast, however, campaigners remain concerned that current EU rules to control climate change and air pollution could fall off the table during negotiations and rules be watered down to give less protection for nature.

We may as a nation feel differently about Brexit; however, what’s incontrovertible is that nature needs our help and we should help those who are prepared to do more to welcome wildlife in the countryside.