When I was appointed Environment Secretary, I set two very clear goals. First, to grow more, sell more and export more great British food and drink around the world; and second, to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. I am fully committed to improving the UK’s air and water quality and protecting our plants, trees and wildlife.
My ambition is to publish, as soon as possible, our wide-ranging 25 Year Plan for food and farming – this plan is far longer in its ambition than most of the political timescales that we see, and my Department will shortly be setting out a framework to outline our new game-changing approach to managing the environment and the agri-food sector into the future.
This 25 Year Plan will help to inform our decisions, better connect current and future generations to the environment, and ensure that investment is directed to where it will have the biggest impact on protecting and enhancing our environment. I am sure that we all want clean beaches, air, water, good soil, and healthy biodiversity, whether we are a member of the EU or not, and the UK is well placed to continue our excellent legacy of environmental protections once we leave.
The focus of the 25 Year Plan is to use and manage land sustainability; help nature to recover and enhance the beauty of our landscapes; connect people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing; reduce pollution and waste; secure clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans; whilst also working to protect and improve our global environment. In order to achieve this, we will be consulting on setting up a new independent body to hold government to account and on a new set of environmental principles to underpin policy-making, with the aim of assessing progress toward our 25-year goals.
Our future outside the EU is incredibly bright, and the 25 Year Plan that my team and I are working on will ensure our environment and agri-food sector are in the best possible place to take advantage of all the opportunities as we leave.