Hungry for change: fixing the failures in food Contents

Chapter 6: Food and the natural environment

403.We have concluded that a food system: “encompasses everything from production at the farm through manufacture, retail, use in the home and the waste that goes on along the way”.534 We were established to investigate the links between public health, inequality, and food sustainability. In previous chapters, we have outlined how these elements of the food system interrelate. Our report has so far focussed on how consumers experience food insecurity, the food environment and on the health impacts of UK diets. The Committee also received evidence relating to the primary production side of the food system, and the impact of agriculture on the environment. To achieve a healthy and truly sustainable food system, the Government must address some fundamental questions about what and how much the nation should be producing, and how it should be producing it.

404.Agriculture employs almost half a million people in the UK, 1.5% of the total workforce, and in 2016, generated £23 billion worth of produce with a net contribution to the UK’s economy of £8 billion.535 Around half of the food eaten in the UK is produced in the UK.536 The UK’s production to supply ratio—which measures the farm-gate value of raw food production (including for export) divided by the value of raw food for human consumption—is 75% for indigenous-type foods (that is, those food that can be produced in the UK) and 61% for all foods.537 More than 60% of the UK’s agricultural production comes from livestock, which in 2016 was worth £12.7 billion.538

405.Our evidence indicated that economic forces requiring farmers to produce food as cheaply as possible can act as an inhibitor to producing in an environmentally sustainable way, and that there was a resultant negative impact on various environmental measures. We were told that sustainability included three strands: environmental, economic and social sustainability, and may require a fundamental shift in consumption, which could also hold health benefits.

406.Witnesses highlighted changes that will be brought in with the Agriculture Bill’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme, and the necessity of appropriately defining ‘public goods’ which would be rewarded with public money. Standardised and mandatory reporting of certain environmental metrics is crucial to allow this scheme to operate effectively, and the Government must ensure that payments are truly conditional on meeting the targets for progress.

407.Agricultural technology and innovation pose opportunities for more efficient farming, but only if appropriately supported by funding for Research and Development and a stable funding and policy environment, and they must not be allowed to damage biodiversity or animal welfare. We heard views on post-Brexit trade agreements and were convinced of the economic, environmental, and moral imperatives to ensure that imported food reaches the same environmental, health and animal welfare standards as food produced in the UK.

408.The UK’s population does not consume enough fruit or vegetables. Low national consumption is due, in large part, to issues with the food environment and the complicated factors which shape consumer choice. Increasing consumption will therefore require a comprehensive action plan; this should sit within the National Food Strategy. We have called for actions that farmers take to enhance and improve public health to be supported and rewarded under the new Environmental Land Management Scheme. These measures could include those which work to increase consumption: local marketing; partnerships with procurers; educational schemes and the quality and variety of produce.

Impact of food production on the environment

409.Farmers are the custodians of the British countryside. Around 72% of the land in the UK is used for agriculture.539 UK landscapes and understanding of those landscapes are shaped and maintained by farming activities. We do not diminish the importance of this role, nor ignore some of the excellent examples of good practice from farmers who take their role as countryside stewards extremely seriously. It is, however, clear that food production can have significant and negative effects on the environment.

410.The damage is wide-ranging (see Figure 9). Agriculture impacts negatively on a variety of different environmental measures. It accounts for 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributes to water and nutrient pollution, soil degradation, huge usage of water and is: “the major driver of ecosystem damage.”540 Professor Andrew Balmford, Professor of Conservation Science at the University of Cambridge, summarised these impacts, stating that:

“It is important to acknowledge that food production has the greatest set of impacts on the planet of any human activity by a long way, across the piece and across different types of impact. Agriculture uses up a lot of space. It uses up and redirects water. It emits greenhouse gases. It emits other pollutants. It results in the loss and degradation of soils. Beyond farming, in fisheries, it also causes direct mortality of creatures. That means that it has impacts on biodiversity, on climate, on soils, on flooding, on eutrophication, on the acidity of the oceans, on water availability and even on sea-level rise”.541

411.A report of the EAT-Lancet Commission found that: “Many environmental systems and processes are pushed beyond safe boundaries by food production.”542 Professor Tim Benton, Director of the Energy, Environment and Resources Programme at Chatham House, pointed to the economic impacts of food production on pollution and ill health. Professor Benton said: “Defra’s own figures suggest that pollution costs from nitrogen and phosphate fertiliser are about £5 billion. The carbon cost of agriculture is about £2 billion at European carbon trading prices. I have not found a good estimate for how much food waste costs.”543

412.Farming will inevitably have some impact upon the natural environment. It is possible, however, to significantly reduce these impacts. If the UK is to achieve a sustainable food system, or to meet the Government’s target to become a Net Zero economy by 2050, it must do so.

413.One theme to emerge was that, currently, farming systems focus on producing food as cheaply as possible and that this places costs, or externalities, on the natural environment. It was suggested that these externalities were an inevitable outcome of a system which favours low cost food products over environmental sustainability. Producing food in sustainable ways can require investment, increase costs and possibly decrease yields. Alongside the difficulty in farming sustainably, and notwithstanding some instances of good practice, those who purchase food from farmers are keen to get the lowest price. A producer who spends their money and time on mitigating environmental impact may need to raise prices to cover their costs, thus losing competitive advantages.

414.It is clear that many farmers are themselves keen to ensure that they produce in a sustainable way, taking care of land and wildlife. We note, for example, the ambitious target set by the National Farmers’ Union to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2040, and the creation of the Nature Friendly Farming Network. Frustration was expressed at the difficult situation that producers find themselves in. The Sustainable Food Trust told us that farmers: “are trapped in an economic paradigm where they have little control of their method of production, since they understand that farming in an environmentally damaging way is the only way to make profit.”544 A former dairy farmer who submitted written evidence had found it extremely difficult to balance the costs of environmental protections and livestock welfare with the price paid by a leading retailer for his produce, and had ultimately felt “compelled to call time on the business”.545

415.The true cost of food production includes the cost that is borne by the natural environment, which is not included in the price paid for the food by the purchaser. Philip Hambling, Head of Food and Farming Policy at the National Farmers’ Union, told us that: “There is an area that has not been fully cracked as a challenge, which is trying to bring in externalities in the food system that are not necessarily covered by our traditional economic model.”546

Figure 9: Percentages of UK pollution from ammonia and greenhouse gases derived from agriculture in 2017

Inforgraphic showing percentages of UK pollution from ammonia and greenhouse gases derived from agriculture in 2017

Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The future farming and environment Evidence compendium (September 2019): [accessed 29 June 2020]

What is a sustainable food system?

416.A key theme to emerge was that the term ‘sustainable’ is not as simple as ‘environmentally friendly’. We were told that sustainable food systems would encompass three factors: environmental; social (covering nutrition and health); and economic (ensuring that agriculture provides a sustainable income for farmers). Philip Hambling from the National Farmers’ Union referred to these elements as “the traditional three-legged stool of sustainability”.547

417.If a food system (including both home-grown and imported food) is not providing for those considerations—for example if the food system is driving poor health outcomes or is not providing affordable healthy food—then it cannot be considered ‘sustainable’. Sustainable systems must, therefore:

Be socially positive. Enough healthy food, including whole grains, fruit and vegetables, would be available and accessible to all. Diet related ill health would fall. The NHS and wider society would benefit.

Be economically viable. Farmers would be able to consistently and reliably sell produce at a fair price, enabling them to invest in processes and infrastructure to expand or improve their operations.

Be environmentally sustainable. Land must be managed to ensure that it is used appropriately, continues to be viable for food production, and negative impacts on GHG emissions, water and air pollution and habitats and biodiversity must be substantially reduced whilst enhancing carbon sequestration and flood management.

It is crucial that the upcoming National Food Strategy considers all these factors in conjunction.

418.The evidence we received indicated that the way in which food is currently produced is environmentally unsustainable and that primary production is inflicting damage on the natural environment. Generally, ‘environmental sustainability’ means not compromising the environment for future generations. Many of our witnesses emphasised that it would be insufficient to maintain the status quo. Mr Percival for example, emphasised that change was absolutely necessary: “what we actually need is farming that puts value back into the system so that it replenishes our soils, brings wildlife back on to farms, brings more social value than it extracts and helps to resolve the climate and nature crisis and turn around the dietary ill health trends that we have seen.”548

The Agriculture Bill

419.We were told that: “Farmers in some cases receive less than the costs of production making them dependent on other sources of income or Government subsidies”549; in 2016/17, around 20% of UK farms fitted this description.550 Subsidies from Government (which were expected to be worth £2.7 billion in 2017/18)551 predominantly come under direct payments from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A 2019 report from the National Audit Office found that these payments account for an average of 61% of farms’ net profit and without direct payments, 42% of farms would have made a loss.552 As many of these payments are based on acreage, they benefit larger holdings.

420.Following the exit of the UK from the EU, the CAP, the framework for most farming subsidies, will cease to apply. It will be replaced by provisions under the Agriculture Bill to draw up a new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) which promises to reward public goods with public money. These public goods will include: “better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards, improved access to the countryside or measures to reduce flooding.”553

421.Alison Ismail, Acting Director for Agri-Food Chain Directorate, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, suggested that the replacement scheme will effect substantial change:

“Environmental land management will offer the opportunity for farmers and land managers to produce different kinds of goods, including environmental public goods. For some of them that may mean moving away from more traditional agricultural activity and, indeed, may mean new entrants coming to the market seeking to provide not just, we hope, a full range of environmental goods but potentially different types of agriculture and horticulture from what we have seen up until now.”554

422.Many of our witnesses spoke about the potential of the Agriculture Bill to effect positive environmental change. Professor Balmford captured the view of much of our evidence when he described the Bill and the ELMS as: “very refreshing and exciting”.555 Although there is, as we discuss in paragraphs 446–455, a significant missed opportunity for the Bill to incentivise and support improvements to public health, the incorporation of environmental goods into the list of things for which farmers can be financially rewarded is certainly a positive step.

423.The Bill provides an historic opportunity to incentivise a host of public goods, but as Kath Dalmeny said: “Obviously, the detail still has to be worked out”.556 The Bill outlines high-level aims which ‘could’ be rewardable under the scheme, but provides very little detail of which measures would be rewardable, and how these will be determined. Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Martin programme on the Future of Food at Oxford University, pointed out that: “We have not decided what a public good is. Economists will take a technical definition of what a public good is, and many other people will take different definitions. We have to have a discussion about what that is.”557

424.British Growers emphasised the current uncertainty, saying that it was unclear: “how a public good attracting public funding will be defined. It would be good to see more detail on the definition of a public good and get an indication of the amount of funding available to support this element of the future agricultural support system. Without adequate funding it could become little more than a catchy slogan.”558 The Government says that it is working with farmers to ‘co-design’ the system, but we are concerned that the full list of rewardable public goods, is not yet available. A consultation published in February 2020 on the scheme provided some indication of what is being considered, but it is clear that much integral information is still under consideration: the document sets out different tiers of payments but asks: “What could this tier pay for?”559

425.Our evidence was clear on the need to ensure that this scheme is planned appropriately because, as we have seen, there is a ripple effect of any change made to the food system. Professor Balmford was keen to emphasise that rewarding farmers for producing environmental goods would need to be tailored in some way and: “coupled with incentivising yield improvements and yield increases elsewhere within UK farmland”.560 Any effect of changes in production must be mitigated so that it does not decrease the availability of food. If, as Alison Ismail said, the ELMS might mean that farmers move away from traditional agricultural activity, there must be a plan to mitigate that.

426.We note that the Government’s transition plan includes a commitment for largely unchanged funding for farmers until at least the end of the current Parliament. During this time, we urge the Government to undertake full and transparent consultation when considering the public goods that will be rewarded under the ELMS.

The need for better metrics

427.If the ELMS is to reward producers for creating environmental goods, it must be abundantly clear what those public goods are, how to create them, and how to measure them. Without this clarity, confusion could arise about targets, farmers could miss out on their payments, (or these payments could be incorrectly paid), and ultimately, less will be achieved. Mr Percival from the Soil Association made the key point that targets must be realistic and practicable. He stated that: “You need to make sure that it is practical and achievable with no extra burden on farmers”.561

428.Measuring the environmental effects of production methods can be extremely complicated. We were told, for example, that there were over 50 different models for measuring carbon, designed for different kinds of enterprises, and that there was “still quite a low degree of agreement on what constitutes soil health.”562 As it stands, the Agriculture Bill contains no frameworks to measure the environmental ‘goods’ it intends to reward. The Soil Association and the National Farmers’ Union agreed that there must be standardised frameworks in place to measure progress towards public goods, particularly those identified as rewardable in the Agriculture Bill.563 This is an eminently reasonable request and will allow the UK Government to circumnavigate a number of predictable pitfalls which would arise from a lack of standardisation. The Government told us that it will continue to use current evaluations alongside developing “other scheme indicators and evaluation frameworks that relate to our 25 Year Environment Plan, Net Zero and other policy ambition.”564 This work must be completed as soon as possible.

429.The Government must ensure that every public good outlined in the Agriculture Bill is accompanied by a standardised framework to allow measurements and targets to be clear, consistent and easy to use.


430.It is encouraging that the Agriculture Bill includes provision to ensure adherence to some environmental standards through a system of conditional payments. The explanatory notes to the Agriculture Bill state that it includes: “the ability to establish an enforcement and inspection regime for the new financial assistance payments including powers to set out terms and conditions of future financial assistance.”565 It is vital that progress is robustly and consistently measured, and that this assessment has weight.

431.The Government must ensure that the ability to stipulate conditions for payments under the Environmental Land Management Scheme is both rigorously and fairly deployed. Where conditions are not met, enforcement action in the form of withholding payment must reliably follow.

The case for a dietary shift

432.Our report has already emphasised that, for reasons of public health, there is a need for a substantial dietary shift. There is another compelling case for dietary change—the types of food the population currently consumes are having an extremely detrimental effect on the planet.

433.It was made clear to us that, environmentally speaking, not all diets are equal. Certain food types have higher negative impacts upon the natural environment, particularly those arising from ruminant animals such as cattle and sheep. The dietary change that would deliver the most positive impact was, we were told, a reduction in meat consumption. Anna Taylor of the Food Foundation told us that meat consumption was “at the heart of the issue”. She said that:

“If we can reduce our consumption of animal products, it would provide a big lever for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions attached to our diet. It is important to highlight that we are not just talking about moving away from eating red meat to eating white meat, because we know that the white meat we eat is fed largely on soy, which in and of itself has a big land-use footprint.”566

434.A variety of witnesses, including Dr Garnett567, and the Soil Association568 emphasised the environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption. Dr Morley told us:

“We can be sure that there are certain principles that contribute to a sustainable diet, such as lower rates of red meat consumption than we currently have and higher levels of consumption of pulses, alternative forms of protein and vegetables. There is consensus around what a sustainable diet looks like.”569

435.This evidence, calling for a decrease in meat consumption, is in line with calls from a variety of organisations. In January 2020 the Committee for Climate Change called for the consumption of beef, lamb and dairy, to be reduced by at least 20%.570 Similarly, the EAT-Lancet Commission’s ‘Planetary Health Diet’ favours smaller amounts of meat and dairy.571

436.Some evidence has indicated that a change in the nation’s diets could deliver both health and environmental improvements. Academic research on the environmental implications of nationally recommended diets (which may involve a reduction in red meat and dairy) found that national adherence could reduce food related GHG emissions by up to 17%.572 Professor Balmford referred to a comprehensive study of different health and environmental impacts which found that: “foods that were good for the environment tended to be good for people as well.”573 Dr Garnett agreed that there was a correlation between healthy and environmentally sustainable diets but emphasised the need for careful planning to ensure that both outcomes were achieved. She described the double benefit of a dietary change as “possible but not inevitable. It is an arranged marriage rather than a love match.”574

437.We agree with Dr Garnett’s view on careful planning. A reduction in meat consumption could have significant environmental and nutritional implications, which must be considered carefully. Issues include:

Residence times of GHGs in the atmosphere;

Land use and carbon storage;

The relative environmental and health impacts of different kinds of meat;

The nutritional value of meat and dairy;

Available alternatives (including the development of new artificially designed proteins)575 and their cost and consumer acceptability; and

The environmental implications of producing alternatives to meat and dairy.

438.Henry Dimbleby warned us that: “it is almost impossible to act on [the food system] in any way without creating winners and losers”.576 This is undoubtedly true but in no way represents an argument for inaction. It appears clear that a move towards a more plant-based, balanced diet, is becoming an increasingly pressing environmental imperative. In order to achieve this, the Government must carefully work through the health, social and environmental implications (including for biodiversity) of a move towards a more plant-based, balanced diet which balances environmental and health considerations.

439.In order to protect the natural environment and public health, there is a need for a fundamental shift in national consumption patterns towards a more plant-based, balanced diet in line with the recommendations of the Government’s Eatwell Guide.

440.The Government’s White Paper on the National Food Strategy must include a definitive outline of what constitutes a sustainable diet with regards to health, social and environmental impacts. It must be accompanied with a graded action plan and communications strategy to move towards this diet.

Food production and public health

441.A key question for our inquiry was how actors at every level of the food system can be empowered to help make healthier diets more accessible to all. It is clear that a major goal should be increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables across all sectors of society. Figures from the 2018 National Diet and Nutrition survey indicated that: “only 31% of adults … and 8% of teenagers meet the 5 A Day recommendation for fruit and vegetables.”577 This rate falls among those in lower-income brackets578, so a deficiency in fruit and vegetable consumption is not only a crucial weakness in the nation’s diets, but a factor in health inequalities.

442.There were strong calls in our evidence for a strategy or an action plan to increase production and consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK. Anna Taylor for example, when asked for her key policy suggestion, argued for a: “comprehensive strategy for driving up fruit and veg consumption right the way from production, the horticultural end, to consumption and advertising.”579 Suggested interventions work either to increase what we have viewed as ‘the demand side’, or to address problems on ‘the supply side’. Many of our witnesses were keen to argue that the food system is to a large extent, driven by demand. Dr Adrian Morley argued for example that necessary consumption shifts: “will be achieved only by shifting consumer demand”.580

443.Both the 2010 report of the Fruit and Vegetables Task Force581 and a 2020 report by the Food Foundation582 identified that reform of public messaging programmes, better practise in marketing, changes to the Healthy Start scheme, and support for education schemes would increase consumption of fruit and vegetables. These suggestions tally with what we have learnt about the food environment, outlined in Chapter 4 of this report.

444.We are hopeful that, with appropriate governance and sufficient commitment (issues we address in Chapter 7), the National Food Strategy can take the proposals for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption forward and develop them into concrete actions. There should be a dedicated section in the review addressing this topic.

445.The National Food Strategy should outline a comprehensive action plan to increase the demand for and consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Financial support for horticulture

446.At the moment, only 1.9% of UK land is used to produce fruit and vegetables.583 The Government told us that in 2018, 53% of marketed vegetables were produced in England and that the figure for home-produced fruit was at 16.7%.584 Shirley Cramer referred to one report which found that if all suitable land in England was used to grow fruit and vegetables we “could by 2030 have 18,000 fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease.”585

447.Several witnesses suggested that horticulturists should benefit from a specific subsidy to be incorporated within the Agriculture Bill. The idea is that by providing additional funding to fruit and vegetables, farmers could increase the supply, and this would feed through the supply chain and increase consumption. Nourish Scotland stated that there is: “huge potential for much more high quality, nutritious food to be grown by smaller scale farmers—currently excluded from any advice or assistance due to being below the minimum land requirement for the Basic Payment Scheme.”586 Kath Dalmeny proposed a national programme for “subsidising fruit and vegetable production, or at least supporting more land for that kind of use and perhaps more entrants to small-scale horticulture, diverse crops and all those kinds of things” and stated that this would: “give ingredients to a food industry that would then make good use of subsidised ingredients that bear health in them.”587 Philip Hambling of the NFU told us that: “there is certainly an opportunity for UK agriculture and horticulture to be part of a solution to deliver healthy fruit and veg for the nation.”588

448.We note that, historically, subsidy schemes have excluded horticulturists—aside from the legacy Fruit and Vegetable Aid Scheme, they have largely been left to stand on their own financial feet. On average, in 2018/19, horticulture farms received just over 1% of their income from subsidies, compared to 11% for all farm types.589

449.Some contributors felt that the Agriculture Bill presented an opportunity to rectify this shortfall and reward famers for measures that would improve public health. Sustain, for example, has proposed that measures which “increase the availability, affordability, diversity, quality and marketing of fruit and vegetables and pulses”590 could be rewardable under the ELMS proposed by the Bill.

450.This could be interpreted to mean area-based or blanket subsidies to incentivise increased growth of fruit and vegetables. There are, however, some limitations to this simple subsidy approach:

The quantity of fruit and vegetables grown in the UK is not necessarily the limiting factor in consumption. Given the many barriers we identified to a healthy diet in Chapter Four, we believe that subsidising production would be unlikely to solve many of the accessibility problems that prevent people from eating the recommended quantities of fruit and vegetables. Henry Dimbleby felt that subsidising producers was likely to be ineffective:

“If you look at the total environmental subsidy of £3.4 billion, that is £50 per household, but if you put all your subsidies into veg I do not think you are going to get people eating more veg. I do not think that is going to do it. There might be areas where you can encourage it and that you could link, but I do not think putting it in at the production end is going to work.”591

Another argument against directly subsidising the production of fruit and vegetables in the UK is that the use of natural capital to increase food production in the UK might backfire by driving further environmental degradation and: “make things worse generation by generation”.592 Growing non-indigenous fruit (aside from apples, the most popular fruits—bananas, oranges and grapes—are not generally grown in the UK), is more resource intensive. Analysis from the Food and Climate Research Network found that much overseas grown produce transported by sea was fairly low in greenhouse gas intensity. It argued that growing all fruit and vegetables in the UK “is unlikely to be ‘the’ optimal answer since there are trade offs between import-related transport and mobile cold storage emissions on the one hand and waste and stationary cold storage emissions through the storage of indigenous food on the other.”593

There are concerns around the availability of labour to harvest these plants. Given the reported shortage of farm labourers in the weeks and months following the outbreak of COVID-19,594 and the impending exit from the European Union, it is possible that subsidies which do not address labour shortfalls are likely to be ineffective.

There is some opposition in the agricultural industry towards fruit and vegetable subsidies. British Growers told us that they would prefer action by supermarkets and consumers and that: “the fresh produce industry would prefer to operate without subsidies which it believes can have a distorting effect”.595

451.The Government’s written evidence told us that the Agriculture Bill could provide support to help growers increase the productivity of fruit and vegetable production.596 If properly managed to ensure that they do not cause further damage to land, animal welfare or biodiversity, increases in productivity are welcome.597 Consideration of the issues outlined here suggests however, that a simple subsidy for horticulturists (whether a blanket subsidy or one based on acreage) may be an ineffective mechanism to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables.

452.There is flexibility in the Agriculture Bill as to how farmers could be supported598, and if the Bill were to enable rewards for some measures to improve public health, farmers could be incentivised, enabled and supported to increase demand for fruit and vegetables. These measures could include but are not limited to:

Facilitating educational visits (including visits to and from schools);

Measures to increase the quality and diversity of fruit and vegetables;

Measures to promote fruit and vegetables. This could take the form of general marketing, or running events in partnership with local organisations or local authorities; and

The formation of partnerships with procurers. In this area, Government support in changing wider procurement frameworks and guidelines are likely to be most effective, but other forms of facilitation, such as guarantees or loans, could play an important role.

453.In the list of activities eligible for financial assistance, the Agriculture Bill includes “supporting ancillary activities carried on, or to be carried on, by or for a producer”599 and the explanatory notes state that this could include financial assistance for support to selling or marketing activities. Given the potential for horticulturists in particular to improve public health, we recommend that agricultural policy in general recognises and rewards this. Specifically, the Agriculture Bill should identify public health as a financially rewardable ‘Public Good’ and the measures we have listed above as activities eligible for financial assistance.

454.Rewarding and supporting farmers in increasing demand for fruit and vegetables could increase consumption. Simple economics would suggest that increasing demand will eventually increase supply; if there is a market for produce, farmers will grow it.

455.We recommend that Government should list Public Health as a ‘Public Good’ under Clause One of the Agriculture Bill. Measures eligible for financial assistance to improve public health should be focussed on (but not necessarily limited to) those activities which increase demand for fruits and vegetables.

Resilience and continuity of supply

456.Throughout our inquiry, we considered whether it was desirable to produce more food in the UK. The Government told us that, in 2018, the UK had 53% of home-produced marketed vegetables and 16.7% of home-produced marketed fruit.600 A model where more of the UK’s food was produced ‘in-house’ could support smaller producers, enhance animal welfare standards, reduce air-miles and increase resilience to global shocks that disrupt food supply. In addition, Henry Dimbleby’s consultation found that there was a strong emotional desire for localised production: “The one thing that everyone seems to share is the idea that they want their food to be nearby … There is a very strong sense of us as a food-growing nation”.601

457.Of the utilised agricultural area in England, only around 0.3% is used for growing fruit crops602, which might suggest the potential for using more land for growing important crops. The Government has acknowledged this: “There is potential that the UK could increase its home-produced marketed share and it is likely that the industry would be keen to do this”.603 There was some suggestion that producing more ‘in-house’ could increase the consistency of national supply. Professor Benton stated: “Under a resilient food system, there is a much more natural argument to have a discussion about how much we produce at home versus relying on importing.”604

458.Another point that was raised by Henry Dimbleby was that trading is crucial for ensuring resilience in the food system “because it protects us from bad harvests”.605 The Government also argued that many products cannot be produced in the UK, and that supply would fail to meet demand for year-round access to certain foods.606

459.The empty shelves in supermarkets and the unpicked food in fields following the outbreak of COVID-19 demonstrate that there are certainly discussions to be had about the resilience of the food supply. A House of Lords Select Committee recently urged the Government to develop a comprehensive food security policy for the UK.607 We are inclined to support this recommendation and are hopeful that the upcoming National Food Strategy will address this important piece of work.


460.Following Britain’s exit from the European Union, the Government’s decisions about trade policy with regard to food have the potential to enhance food security through a strong and resilient agricultural sector. Trade in this sector could deliver a healthier diet, continue the UK’s strong record on high animal welfare standards, encourage sustainable practices elsewhere, and support the broader agri-environment.

461.Trade featured in many of our discussions and much of our evidence. There was strong agreement that, whatever environmental standards are implemented following Brexit, trade arrangements must support these standards rather than undermine them. Several of our witnesses spoke of the need to apply the same environmental standards to imports as are applied to food produced in the UK. This is partly a competitive requirement for British farmers who may otherwise be undercut by cheaper food produced with lower environmental standards, and partly a moral imperative not to encourage poorer standards elsewhere. Dr Garnett said: “We cannot export or import the problem”.608 Evidence from British Growers emphasised that: “The UK needs to guard against ‘off shoring’ production in the interests of keeping prices low but without proper concern for the impact on the environment in those countries exporting produce to the UK.”609

462.If trade agreements allow for the import of cheap food, produced according to lower environmental standards, this would put UK producers at a competitive disadvantage; they would be internalising the costs of food production to the environment, while the producers of the imports would not be doing so. Nothing in the Agriculture Bill as it stands would prohibit this. Professor Benton argued that this would: “undercut the profit margins of our farmers”, potentially leading to the loss of many smaller or less intensively producing farmers.610 The Nature Friendly Farming Network agreed. It emphasised that: “The risks posed by a model that allows environmentally sensitive farmers in the UK to be ‘undercut’ by cheap, damaging imports are numerous and could see the loss of many of our most environmentally beneficial farmers.”611 Another possible scenario is one where UK farmers are compelled to lower their production standards on sustainable farming, safety, and animal welfare in order to remain competitive.

463.There was also serious concern that access to cheaper food (which may be produced with lower environmental protection or animal welfare standards) would: “undercut our ability to do everything else we want to do in this space”.612 If we are, as a nation to aim to encourage sustainable production, then it stands to reason that we ought to ascribe: “the same values that we ascribe to production in the UK through trade and procurement policy.”613 The very least the Government can do to protect British producers and the natural environment is to import food products following the same standards as applied in the UK. The Food Ethics Council has estimated that since: “70% of the UK’s environmental food footprint is based overseas”,614 there is an obligation to support sustainable growing and production in other countries. This could be achieved by requiring the same levels of environmental integrity from imported products as those produced in the UK.

464.There could also be health implications in importing food made to different health and safety specifications. When asked whether retailers would rule out importing food made to lower safety standards, Mr Opie from the British Retail Consortium and Ms Batchelar from Sainsbury’s focussed on consumer acceptability, stating that they did not anticipate consumers lowering their standards. We are, however, concerned that if food produced to lower health and safety standards can be imported cheaply, some retailers will sell it. Not all consumers would necessarily buy food produced to lower health standards, but if it were available more cheaply, the most vulnerable in society may not be able to avoid it.

465.We understood that the requirements to import only food that meets current UK standards on environmental, health, and animal welfare standards will be difficult to achieve. One difficulty arises when we consider the differing priorities of Government Departments. We were told by Henry Dimbleby that: “DEFRA and Trade have very different objectives in our trade negotiations with other countries. There is a constant running battle between BEIS and Health on proper regulation of retailers and food producers.”615 We recognise the difficulties inherent in this, but it is crucial that the Government obtain the right trade deals for the future.

466.In a joint letter to MPs and Peers, dated June 5 2020, the Secretary of State for International Trade, the Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Truss MP, and Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon. George Eustice MP, stated that in all of its trade negotiations, the Government “will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”616 The same phrase was used in the Government’s evidence to our inquiry which added: “We are committed to supporting global decarbonisation and we are clear that trade will not come at the expense of the environment.”617 It is unclear at the time of writing how the Government intends to honour these commitments.

467.When asked in a House of Lords debate about trade deals which could allow imports farmed to less rigorous standards, Lord Agnew of Oulton, the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office and Treasury stated that: “there has to be a balance between keeping food affordable… to ensure that they are able to eat healthily, while not undermining in any way the quality of the food we eat.”618 This statement falls far short of the commitment we were told was necessary: to refuse to export the problem.

468. An amendment to the Agriculture Bill which aimed to ensure that future imports adhered to the same standards of environmental and animal welfare protection as is mandated in the UK was defeated in the House of Commons on 15 May 2020.619

469.Food imports must be required to adhere to the same health, environmental and animal welfare standards as food produced in the UK. To fail to do so would make a mockery of our stated environmental values, and irrevocably undermine British producers. The Government must set out how it intends to ensure that current standards are maintained in future trade agreements, and what safeguards will be in place to guarantee this.

Production efficiencies

470.We were also told that farming practices could be made substantially more productive and efficient, and that farming that uses fewer resources or less land to produce the same or higher yield could be more environmentally sustainable. Professor Balmford explained this to us in terms of land use: “Any systems that are relatively low yielding tend to have disproportionate impacts. In order to produce the same amount of food, you need a larger area, so the [negative] impacts tend to be greater.”620 The aim is to increase efficiency, which Dr Garnett described as: “producing more with less, more with the same amount or more with only a little bit more.”621 A more efficient system could have a reduced environmental impact and could potentially free up resources to be used in the production or preservation of environmental goods.

471.We were warned that, while production efficiencies can be positive, other needs must also be considered to ensure that this does not lead to negative consequences. Dr Garnett said: “If we are producing more food that is making more people fatter and sicker, that is not necessarily a result.”622 Henry Dimbleby raised the example of a low-carbon cattle farm: “The most carbon-efficient systems are the feedlots of the United States. By feeding a cow hormones and keeping its life as short as possible by growing it quickly, you reduce the methane emissions, but that obviously has implications for animal welfare and health.”623

472.Ideally, farming ought to be as efficient as is possible without undermining environmental or animal welfare considerations. We were told that technology holds some potential for enabling this shift. Witnesses also, however, identified a number of barriers to the development of the technology which could increase production efficiency without damaging the environment. These included that:

There has been, effectively, a “brake” on R&D investment in agriculture over the past 20–30 years, causing a “plateauing of yields in some areas”;

There has been considerable investment uncertainty in the last few years; and

There is limited clarity on the ‘vision’ for sustainable agriculture

Research and Development

473.Some evidence discussed the potential of research and development (R&D) in enabling production efficiencies.624 The Government recognised that technological advances in AI, data and robotics were key to: “unlock the potential of farming by improving productivity … we can also use our resources more sustainably and reduce environmental impact.”625 There has been some investment in agricultural technology towards this aim. The 2013 Agri-Tech Strategy dedicated £160 million to support R&D626 and the Industrial Strategy Clean Growth challenge supported programmes to stimulate the use of low carbon technologies. This includes the £90 million ‘transforming food production’ challenge fund (operated through UK Research and Innovation) which largely focusses on precision agriculture.627 Countryside Productivity Grants provide funding for projects focussed on improvements to farming productivity. 628

474.There was some suggestion that there had been a brake on R&D investment. Professor Balmford told us that: “technologists would tell us that there has been a brake on R&D investment in agriculture over the past 20 or 30 years, which is playing through into a plateauing of yields in some areas.”629 This was not widely echoed within the evidence we received, and there are several avenues of funding available. The inclusion of a technological ‘good’ in the Agriculture Bill is also a positive step. Funding must, however, be reliable and predictable in order to drive progress.

475.One concern that was raised within the evidence around investment in R&D was that for too long it has been inconsistent and unpredictable. One example of Government inconsistency in funding was the coalition Government’s 2015 Food Enterprise Zone Scheme. This scheme provided grants to: “unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the countryside and food producers”630 but according to Martin Yarnit, a Churchill fellow, the funding was limited and, eventually, “quietly parked”.631

476.Progress in the development of impactful technologies can be slow and sometimes expensive. In order to make meaningful strides, funding needs to be predictable: it must not be introduced and then withdrawn. This applies on a large scale, in research and development to produce technologies, and on a smaller scale, on individual farms using technologies and infrastructure.

477.New ways of producing food such as vertical farming632 and the development of meat-free proteins have great potential to fundamentally change the way food is produced: support and funding for research and development must not exclude these non-traditional forms of food production.

478.The Government must provide sufficient and stable funding for research and development into agricultural technology and new ways of farming if sought after progress in increasing farming efficiency is to be made.

479.We were told that uncertainty and inconsistency in Government budgets prevented producers from making their own investments. Farmers, who may consider investing in physical infrastructure or better farm operations may be reluctant to do so without knowing the direction of travel or what the budgets might be in the next decade. Philip Hambling from the NFU stated that: “multiannual budgeting is really welcome for long-term investments. Nothing in agriculture happens in a short space of time. That consistency is key.”633 Mr Percival from the Soil Association agreed, arguing that the Government must: “provide the long-term reassurance that farmers need to invest in strategic changes. We need multiannual budgets and clarity about the long-term direction of travel in policy.”634

480.We were pleased that the Government intends to: “support farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to help to improve their productivity, as well as deliver environmental benefits.”635 A key part of this support must be a stable policy environment where funding and investment from Government is predictable; uncertainty and inconsistent funding is chilling to the long-term planning and innovation we were told is crucial to increasing productivity and protecting the natural environment.

481.The Agriculture Bill will require the publication of multi annual financial assistance plans and require the Secretary of State to have regard to the priorities therein when determining financial assistance budgets or schemes.636 This is necessary, but not enough. The Nature Friendly Farming Network emphasised the need for “Greater certainty about long-term funding under the Bill. We welcome additions to the Bill that require Ministers to establish a multi-annual financial assistance plan, but we would like to see these plans strengthened.”637 As it stands, the publication of financial assistance plans only requires an outline of strategic priorities and “such detail as the Secretary of State considers appropriate”.638 This is, we suggest, inadequate, and adds to our concern that the Bill may not offer sufficient guarantee of the information or the long-term surety that farmers will require to make investment decisions.

482.The policy environment for farming has often been insufficiently stable to enable individual farmers to make investment decisions on improving efficiency or on the use of agricultural technology.

483.The Government must ensure that the multi-annual financial assistance plans to be published under the Agriculture Bill are stable and not subject to substantive change: providing a sufficient amount of detail to allow farmers to make investment decisions.


484.Whilst agricultural technologies and investment in research and development present great potential for efficiencies, Government must be clear that any increase in productivity must not compromise biodiversity, animal welfare, human health, or the ability of land to continue producing food for the future. Dr Garnett told us that:

“In itself, it is not a bad goal, but efficiency is a ratio and therefore has no boundary. We live in a world with limits—environmental limits of many kinds—so we have to think about these technologies partly in the context of limits and partly in the context of what our end goals are.”639

485.We were told that investment in research and development and new technologies must include consideration of the possibilities of agroecology, which incorporates ecological considerations into agriculture. Increases in productivity must not come at the cost of environmental damage. There was some debate for instance, around conserving (or in some cases, re-introducing) wildlife in the natural environment. The majority of our witnesses argued that a model which enabled existing farms to enhance nature on their land by, for example, introducing ponds and planting hedges at boundaries, would be a positive first step. This could have the double benefit of reducing the net emissions of carbon dioxide. A January 2020 report by the Committee on Climate Change stated that an increase in tree planting by at least 17% was necessary if the UK was to achieve the target set to produce net zero emissions by 2050.640

486.A different approach would be to intensively farm some pieces of land and leave some land unfarmed to allow the development of wildlife and habitats. Professor Balmford suggested concentrating food production in particular areas: “Then in other parts, perhaps within the same landscape, we could have large-scale areas set aside for the ecosystem services that we rely on for nature.”641.

487.It was not for us to determine between this approach and the land ‘sharing’ approach outlined in paragraph 485. It is only one example of where the ‘end goal’ must be carefully considered. We are clear that there is a balance to be struck, where new agricultural technology can allow for a more productive and efficient use of land, without undermining the natural environment or biodiversity.

488.Any investment in or policy change related to farming productivity, including investment in agricultural technology or land use must take account of the imperatives to avoid undermining the ability to produce food in the future, and to protect biodiversity and animal welfare.

Food industry reporting

489.There is huge untapped potential for industry bodies—including retailers, caterers and manufacturers—to encourage sustainable production practices by raising internal procurement standards. It is discouraging that, aside from a few examples of good practice,642 this is not yet happening. In the absence of responsible industry behaviour, the Government could encourage a ‘race to the top’ by mandating bodies to report on their sustainability performance.

490.A Food Foundation Report was highly critical of gaps in reporting on some sustainability and health metrics, most of which are voluntary.643 Some of our evidence argued for a consistent and mandated sustainability reporting regime. Requiring data from local businesses such as supermarkets, large processors and large public procurers could encourage more pro-sustainability behaviour in supply chains and would provide a way of holding the industry to account. This data could be publicly available to NGOs, Government and, crucially, consumers. There is a possibility that this reporting would encourage a race to the top, with industry competing–if not to be the best, then at least to avoid being labelled the worst.

491.Dr Morley highlighted the “importance of data and mandating reporting from the food system”644 as a key priority. He told us that: “if we can mandate certain parts of the food system to report different sustainability metrics and incentivise other smaller businesses to do the same, it would go a long way towards identifying a route to manage the transition to a more sustainable food system.”645

492.Supermarkets, public procurers, and manufacturers could be required to publish a measurement of performance against a variety of relevant metrics. These could include (among many others): carbon impact, food waste, the use of water-stressed regions, the percentage of products produced under sustainable production practices, the percentage of products certified to high animal welfare standards, the price of a basket of sustainably produced basics and the price of a basket of healthy basics.

493.Government must implement a mandatory reporting regime for adherence to clear and consistent sustainability and health metrics, as well as adherence to procurement standards. This should apply to all supermarkets, major food and drink manufacturers, public procurers and their contracted suppliers, and food outlets.

Food waste

494.Food production produces waste at every stage: both pre and post-farm gate. Dr Morley told us that: “between a third and perhaps a half of all food that is produced does not get to its end consumer.”646 Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, stated that: “if global food waste was a country it would be the third largest contributor to the climate crisis in CO2 emissions globally, after the US and China.”647

495.British Growers told us that the demand (from retailers and consumers) for consistent supply and ‘perfect’ produce means that farmers often cannot avoid food wastage.648It is another example of farmers being trapped in the ‘economic paradigm’ discussed in paragraph 414. Clearly, this is a problem that cannot be resolved by Government alone, it will require a shift in retailer behaviour.

496.Efforts to reduce food waste have largely focused on food waste that occurs after the food has left the farm (post-farm gate). In 2016 the DEFRA-backed Waste and Resources Action programme (WRAP) launched the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement with a target to reduce post-farm gate food waste by 20% per capita.649 The Government, however, told us that progress towards cutting food waste has “plateaued”650 in recent years. The Government’s evidence to the Committee pointed to its 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy,651 and highlighted two separate attempts to redistribute surplus food: the appointment of a champion, and the introduction of a £15 million fund for the redistribution of surplus food.652

497.The Sustainable Food Trust (SFT) called for more concerted effort on waste. They argued for a new ambitious target which would include pre-farm gate food waste. “In line with SDG 12.3, the SFT believes that the UK Government should cut food waste per capita by 50% before 2030, starting from post-harvest losses and going through production and supply, all the way to consumption.”653

498.The tight specifications on the shape and size of produce that can be sold and the practise of overproduction mean that farmers are compelled to throw away a substantial amount of produce. Evidence from British Growers argued that: “the big issues for growers is around retailer programming”. They gave the example of lettuce production which must be grown to meet possible demand but “can’t be turned off” if demand reduces as a result of cold weather or other factors which may influence consumer demand.654

499.The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee recommended that retailers should relax quality standards to allow “wonky vegetables”655 as part of their main range to avoid the situation where good food is thrown away because it does not fit narrow supermarket specifications. We endorse the 2014 findings of the House of Lords European Union Committee which recommended renewed effort by businesses to promote cooperation and shared financial responsibility for food waste early in the supply chain. They said efforts should, amongst others, include:

“careful consideration of contractual requirements in the sector, including much wider use of long-term contracts and ones where the relationship between different ends of the supply chain does not encourage overproduction; the encouragement of whole-crop purchasing; and improvements to forecasting.”656

500.The Environment Bill rightly includes provision to reduce household food waste. It also enables the Government to introduce producer responsibility schemes in the future under the polluter pays principle.657 We welcome these inclusions but there is limited focus on food waste which can arise before the food leaves the farm (“pre-farm gate”). The Courtauld targets account only for “post-farm gate” waste but pre farm gate waste is estimated to exceed that from hospitality and food service and retail combined.658 In the instance of pre-farm gate food waste, the retail industry must take some responsibility.

501.Progress in tackling food waste will not be achieved without meaningful action from the retail sector. The Government should embark on a concerted effort to encourage sustainable purchasing behaviour from retailers. Consideration should be given to financial disincentives for retail or purchasing practices which lead to excessive pre-farm gate food waste.

554 29 (Alison Ismail)

555 Q 78 (Professor Andrew Balmford)

556 Q 81 (Kath Dalmeny)

557 Q 87 (Professor Charles Godfray)

558 Written evidence from British Growers (ZFP0090)

559 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental land management: policy discussion (April 2020), p 20: [accessed 29 June 2020]

560 Q 78 (Professor Andrew Balmford)

561 Q 92 (Rob Percival)

562 Q 92 (Philip Hambling)

563 Q 92 (Philip Hambling and Rob Percival)

564 Supplementary written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0098)

566 Q 7 (Anna Taylor)

567 Q 77 (Dr Tara Garnett)

568 Written evidence from the Soil Association (ZFP0016)

569 76 (Dr Adrian Morley)

570 Committee on climate Change, ‘Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK’ (January 2020), p 9: [accessed 29 June 2020]

571 Eat Forum, The Planetary Health Diet and You: [accessed 30 June 2020]

572 Paul Berhens, Jessica C. Kiefte-de Jong et al, ‘Evaluating the environmental impacts of dietary recommendations’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 114 no 51, (December 2017), pp 13412–13417: See also: Carbon Brief, UK could cut food emissions by 17% by sticking to a healthy diet, (December 2017): [accessed 30 June 2020]

573 Q 77 (Professor Andrew Balmford)

574 Q 77 (Dr Tara Garnett)

575 RethinkX, Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020–2030, (September 2019): [accessed 30 June 2020]

576 Q 100 (Henry Dimbleby)

577 Public Health England, PHE publishes latest data on nation’s diet, (16 March 2018): [accessed 29 June 2020]

578 The Food Foundation, Food system challenges: [accessed 29 June 2020]

579 Q 8 (Anna Taylor)

580 Q 76 (Dr Adrian Morley)

581 Fruit and Vegetables Task Force, Report of the Fruit and Vegetables Task Force (August 2010): [accessed 29 June 2020]

582 The Food Foundation, Veg Facts 2020 In Brief (10 June 2020), p 10: [accessed 29 June 2020]

583 Q 63 (Shirley Cramer)

584 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

585 Q 63 (Shirley Cramer). Ms Cramer was referring to Paraskevi Seferidi, Anthony a Laverty, Brendan Collins et al, ‘Potential impacts of post-Brexit agricultural policy on fruit and vegetable intake and cardiovascular disease in England: a modelling study’, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health (2019):–000057 [accessed 30 June 2020]

586 Written evidence from Nourish Scotland (ZFP0064)

587 Q 86 (Kath Dalmeny)

588 Q 89 (Philip Hambling)

589 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Farm accounts in England—Dataset (December 2019): Based on analysis of tables 5.17 and 5.23. [accessed 29 June 2020]

590 Sustain, ‘Public Health and Agriculture Policy: Why we need a new clause linking public health and farming’ (October 2018) p 1: [accessed 29 June 2020]

591 Q 104 (Henry Dimbleby)

592 Q 86 (Professor Tim Benton)

593 Tara Garnett, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Food and Climate Research Network, Fruit and vegetables and UK Greenhouse Gas emissions: exploring the relationship (22 September 2006) p 7: [accessed 29 June 2020]

594 ‘Coronavirus: Furloughed staff replace overseas farm workers’, BBC News (15 April 2020): [accessed 29 June 2020]

595 Written evidence from British Growers (ZFP0090)

596 Supplementary written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0098)

597 See paragraphs 484–488.

598 Agriculture Bill, Clause 2 [Bill 112 (2019–21)]. The bill allows for farmers to be supported by way of “grants, loan, guarantee or in any other form”.

599 Agriculture Bill, Clause 1

600 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

601 Q 101 (Henry Dimbleby)

602 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Farming Statistics: Land Use, Livestock Populations and Agricultural workforce at 1 June 2019 : England (October 2019) p 5: [accessed 29 June 2020]. Small fruit and orchards account for 32,000 hectares , 0.35% of the total utilised agricultural area (9 million hectares).

603 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

604 Q 80 (Professor Tim Benton)

605 Q 101 (Henry Dimbleby)

606 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

607 European Union Committee, Brexit: food prices and availability (14th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 129)

608 Q 76 (Dr Tara Garnett)

609 Written evidence from British Growers (ZFP0090)

610 Q 80 (Professor Tim Benton)

611 Written evidence from the Nature Friendly Farming Network (ZFP0089)

612 Q 87 (Professor Tim Benton)

613 Q 90 (Philip Hambling)

614 Written Evidence from the Food Ethics Council (ZFP0054)

615 Q 100 (Henry Dimbleby)

616 Letter to MPs and Peers from the Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Truss MP, and Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon. George Eustice MP, 5 June 2020. Letter referred to by Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, HL Deb, 10 June 2020, cols 1753-1754.

617 Supplementary written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0098)

618 HL Deb, 6 May 2020, col 518

619 HC Deb, 13 May 2020, cols 276–339

620 Q 74 (Professor Andrew Balmford)

621 Q 75 (Dr Tara Garnett)

622 Ibid.

623 Q 100 (Henry Dimbleby)

624 Written evidence from the Crop Protection Association (ZFP0021), UK Research and Innovation (ZFP0039) and the Food and Drink Federation (ZFP0009)

625 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

626 Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, £160 million technology boost for UK agricultural industries (22 July 2013): [accessed 29 June 2020]

627 UK Research and Innovation, Transforming food production: [accessed 29 June 2020]

628 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Countryside Productivity Scheme (27 March 2020): [accessed 29 June 2020]

629 Q 75 (Professor Andrew Balmford)

630 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Food Enterprise Zones created to drive growth, (12 February 2015): [accessed 30 June 2020]

631 Written evidence from Martin Yarnit (ZFP0002)

632 Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers and often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture.

633 Q 89 (Philip Hambling)

634 Q 89 (Rob Percival)

635 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

636 Agriculture Bill, Clause 4

637 Written evidence from the Nature Friendly Farming Network (ZFP0089)

638 Agriculture Bill, Clause 4

639 Q 75 (Dr Tara Garnett)

640 Committee on Climate Change, Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK, (23 January 2020): [accessed 30 June 2020]

641 Q 75 (Professor Andrew Balmford)

642 For example, the sustainable fishing practices outlined in written evidence from Sainsbury’s (ZFP0034).

643 The Food Foundation, Plating Up Progress: Part 2, ‘Must-Have’ Metrics, (September 2019): [accessed 30 June 2020]. Voluntary disclosures are often assisted by the work of the Carbon Disclosure Project and often include reports on GHG emissions, energy use and contribution to deforestation.

644 Q 79 (Dr Adrian Morley)

645 Ibid.

646 Q 74 (Dr Adrian Morley)

647 Q 50 (Steve Butterworth)

648 Written evidence from British Growers (ZFP0090)

649 WRAP, ‘The Courtauld Commitment 2025’: [accessed 29 June 2020]

650 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

651 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Resources and waste strategy for England (18 December 2018): [accessed 30 June 2020]

652 Written evidence from HM Government (ZFP0079)

653 Written evidence from the Sustainable Food Trust (ZFP0007)

654 Written evidence from British Growers (ZFP0090)

655 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Food waste in England, (Eighth Report, Session 2016–17, HC 429)

656 European Union Committee, Counting the Cost of Food Waste: EU Food Waste Prevention (10th Report, Session 2013–14, HL Paper154)

657 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Waste and resource efficiency factsheet, part 3 (13 March 2020): [accessed 29 June 2020]

658 WRAP, Food surplus and waste in the UK - key facts (January 2020) p 4: [accessed 30 June 2020]

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