Reform UK manifesto prioritises production over nature

Reform UK has unveiled its “draft manifesto” for the July 4th UK election. Our Contract With You, contains 22 brief chapters explaining the party’s basic policy positions.

On agriculture
Reform UK says it is focussed on small farms and food production. They say that “government subsidies force farmers to meet environmental targets instead of producing food.” They are concerned that farmland is “being lost to rewilding and solar farms”. They want to keep farmland in use, bring young people into farming, boost the rural economy and increase innovation.

They will “Scrap climate-related farming subsidies”, “replace current subsidies with direct payments” and “stop Natural England from taking action that damages farmers”.

They will protect country sports, which “boost rural jobs”. They will “cut red tape” and “grant powers to the Competitions and Markets Authority to ensure fair pricing”. They will ensure farmers have “access to new technology” and will support UK food security by ensuring fertiliser supply.

The manifesto says that the budget for “British” agriculture will be increased to £3bn in the first 100 days in office. The overall UK budget is currently set at £3.6bn and as agriculture policy is devolved we assume the manifesto is referring to the budget for English agriculture, which is currently set at around £2.4bn.

On energy and environment
Reform UK says, “Net zero means reducing man made CO2 emissions to stop climate change. It can’t. Climate change has happened for millions of years, before man made CO2 emissions, and will always change. We are better to adapt to warming, rather than pretend we can stop it. CO2” they continue, “is essential for photosynthesis to enable plant growth.”

They say that they will “scrap net zero and related subsidies”. “Ditching Net Zero would save the public sector some £20 billion per year for the next 25 years, possibly more.” The costs of climate inaction are not referenced.

They will “scrap annual £10 billion of renewable energy subsidies” and “fast-track clean nuclear energy” and “use the energy treasure under our feet. Start fast-track licences of North Sea gas and oil. Grant shale gas [fracking] licences on test sites for 2 years.”

In the Utilities Infrastructure section they say that they will build new reservoirs and “stop the release of sewage into our rivers and seas”.

Forests and natural capital markets are not referenced.

Fishing and coastal communities
The party says it will “end automatic access to UK Waters” including banning “foreign supertrawlers”. They promise to “police British territorial waters properly”, use “tax and other incentives to ensure that all fish caught in British waters are landed and processed in the UK”, “revitalise the UK’s fishing fleet” and “guarantee sustainable [fish] stocks” with “dynamic management”.

Missing key words
The words “nature”, “wildlife”, “regenerative”, “soil”, “carbon” “flooding”, “resilience”, “weather”, “natural capital”, “timber”, “forests”, “peatland” “devolved”, “devolution” and “marine protected area” do not appear the manifesto. Northern Ireland is mentioned in relation to the UK border. Wales is mentioned in relation to police numbers.

Read Reform UK’s, Our Contract With You


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