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Prince adds voice to agricultural debate

HRH Prince Charles has spoken out against super-intensive food production and associated ‘hidden costs to the environment’, calling it ‘dead-end’. In an essay written for the Radio 4 Today programme, the Prince describes how he has watched with growing concern over the decades as the nation’s landscapes have been diminished in the name of efficiency.

Damage to soils, spoilt watercourses and emissions that add to global warming are among the environmental concerns highlighted by the Prince, who owned thousands of acres of farmed land across the UK.

Prince Charles also spoke out against the loss of small, family-run farms, saying that such farms were the ‘backbone of Britain’s rural communities’.

The essay comes ahead of the publication of the National Food Strategy, which is the first major review of Britain’s food system in 70 years. The report, which is led by Henry Dimbleby [founder of the Leon food chain], explores the link between food production and environment degradation, including climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and the loss of sustainable resources.

Despite the warning words, the Prince does see a cause for optimism. He believes the UK can find a way to more sustainable forms of agriculture and cites a new centre if farm and food education in the Cotswolds as evidence of our ability to innovate and develop the way we produce environmentally-friendly and economically-viable food.

In response DEFRA reiterated its commitment to using the new Environmental Land Management Schemes to support farms – of all sizes – to produce high quality food in a more sustainable way.


Photo by Jonathan Pielmayeron Unsplash