What estimate has the Environment Secretary made for the amount of land that will be taken out of agricultural production as a result of schemes and plans for wilding over the next two years?

This reply does not detail how much land the UK government will pay for to  convert away from growing food. Given the enthusiasm for more domestic food and the supply difficulties in the global system we need to make sure we have the land available to expand UK food production. The UK does less than most overseas Agriculture departments to support domestic supply.


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (141109):

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of land that will be taken out of agricultural production as a result of schemes and plans for wilding over the next two years. (141109)

Tabled on: 16 March 2022

Victoria Prentis:

Wilding or re-wilding is the restoration of ecosystems to the point where they are more regulated by natural processes.

Although appropriate only in certain situations, this is something the Government is already supporting through projects such as peatland restoration funding or agri-environment schemes. Defra is also in the process of reviewing and developing an approach to rewilding that takes into account environmental and land use priorities. We will initiate ten Landscape Recovery projects between 2022 and 2024 that will, among other things, help restore wilder landscapes. The focus of these will be on large-scale sites where there are opportunities to significantly enhance the landscape to deliver a wide range of environmental outcomes.

Over the next two years it is expected that the amount of land moving from agriculture production into wilding projects will have no substantive impact on food production.

The answer was submitted on 24 Mar 2022 at 16:12.


  1. Bob Dixon
    March 28, 2022

    This year the wheat produced from Ukraine will be substantially lower.

    How many tons have we purchased on average over the last ten years.

    Will there be a substantial shortfall this year?

    If so where can we replace the shortfall?

    1. Everhopeful
      March 28, 2022

      Apparently the dear govt. wants us to reduce our meat consumption by 30% within 10 years.
      We’ve already reduced it by 17%.
      Life will not be worth living.
      And we will all have protein deficiency and oedema.
      The objective is clear….to create new markets for new ( bogus and unwanted) products.

      1. Mike Wilson
        March 28, 2022

        And we will all have protein deficiency and oedema.

        I’ve been vegetarian (and, for some of the time, vegan) since 1984. I get plenty of protein and have never had any oedema. Most people eat far more protein than is needed. Now almost 70, I have a muscular build and people who meet me cannot believe how old I am ( if the subject comes up).

  2. Mary M.
    March 28, 2022

    – And the land taken out of agricultural production for housing?

    It could be possible to ‘un-re-wild’ when it becomes clear that we need to be more self-sufficient, but less easy to remove acres of new builds.

    Fertile Garden of England soil being concreted over down this way, with no thought to the nation’s future security.

    1. Julian Flood
      March 28, 2022

      Mary, land taken out of production for growing biomass is vastly greater than that built on.

      We are about to be smothered by a whole lot of chickens coming home to roost: energy shortages because STEM-illiterate planners have been climate virtue signalling; unemployment caused by the collapse of energy-dependent industries; water shortages as we fail to build the needed water grid; fuel rationing because we do not produce enough gas to solve that problem by using CNG in HGVs, buses, trains, ships; whole high tech industries collapsing for lack of raw materials; hospitals dealing with the damage done to the health of the old, the poor and the sick by high costs of keeping warm…
      Food shortages?

      Are our politicians up to the challenge or will they hide from the reality? As I type this the entire UK turbine fleet is producing 0.18GW from a plated capacity of 24GW.

      Unless someone gets a grip soon we are going to be in a very bad situation.


      1. Iain Moore
        March 29, 2022

        Not so much up to the challenge as the cause of our problems. Most of the problems we face are the result of decisions they made , above all their single minded and totally destructive policy of over population by mass immigration, and even when they are preaching to us to live cold impoverished lives for their Net Zero, they are still stuffing demand into our country with their open borders.

    2. Christine
      March 28, 2022

      It’s the same where I live. Hundreds of acres of lush cattle grazing pasture has been built on. We used to have some of the best farm land in the country. This Government has gone completely bonkers with their re-wilding and uncontrolled immigration.

  3. Sea_Warrior
    March 28, 2022

    I see that China is now buying-up huge swathes of American farmland. Why would they want to do that, I wonder? And should governments around the world see that as a threat and take action to ban such sales?

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 28, 2022

      You are advocating that owners of private property not be allowed to sell it to whomever offers the best price. I have no particular problem with that, but ask these self-proclaimed libertarians how that sits with their outlook, eh?

      They generally squirm about and mumble, I find.

      1. Peter2
        March 28, 2022

        Pretty obvious NHL
        There are already considerable State and Council powers that restrict the ability to do what you might want to do with land you own.

      2. dixie
        March 29, 2022

        Who are these self-proclaimed libertarians .. specifically?
        All private property of every type is subject to control and obstruction by the state even when you are dead.

      3. Sea_Warrior
        March 29, 2022

        I’m advocating that Western governments look at the strategic implications of letting an enemy increase control over a strategic commodity.
        Oh, and I find that you have the sneering tone typical of left-wingers.

      4. Nottingham Lad Himself
        March 29, 2022

        Aw, go on.

        Let’s not waste time and change the point.

        Propose a libertarian-compatible law which, prevents land and certain other assets from being sold to foreigners then?

        We’re waiting.

        1. Peter2
          March 29, 2022

          One minute NHL you claim the country is little Britain, inward looking and isolated, now you seem to want us to stop foreigners buying businesses and property here.
          Think through the reaction to that policy.

        2. Nottingham Lad Himself
          March 30, 2022

          As I said, they squirm about and mumble.

          1. Peter2
            March 30, 2022

            So obviously I was right.
            Noted how you avoid any real response NHL

    2. hefner
      March 28, 2022

      According to American Military News (20/07/2021) at the end of 2020, China had 192,000 acres of US agricultural land, that 300 sq miles or less than a square with a side of 18 miles.

      To put things in perspective, for agricultural land, the UK has 4.3 m ha, 173,500 km^2, 67,000 sq miles and the USA 4,058,100 km^2, 1.57 m sq miles (data.worldbank.org).
      Then 300/1570000 means 0.02% of US agricultural land is owned by China, which I agree should keep us all awake at night.

      As an aside, how much of UK land is owned by Russians? Anybody knows?

      1. Peter2
        March 28, 2022

        Does the USA own any land in China ?
        Do tell us Hef.

        1. hefner
          March 29, 2022

          Irrelevant follow-up to the original S_W’s post, my dear P2. And if you really want to know (which I doubt very much) do your own research, lazy T-boy.

          1. Peter2
            March 29, 2022

            Oh go on heffy
            Do tell us
            You love a bit of serious research.
            It’s not irrelevant.
            It was a serious question.

          2. Peter2
            March 29, 2022

            Tell me why asking a simple question elicits an abusive response of “lazy T boy” ?
            Why do you nearly always have to resort to cheap shots hef?
            As your pal billy often says you are better than this.

      2. Nottingham Lad Himself
        March 29, 2022

        I read that most UK country estates which came up for sale were bought by Russians, but the source – a senior estate agent – did not offer conclusive evidence for that in the article.

        1. Peter2
          March 30, 2022

          What’s wrong with that NHL?
          The EU you support has given everyone the right for people from all over the world to come into UK and Europe and live work and buy property.
          You need to decide what restrictions you want.
          You seem a bit confused.

    3. Everhopeful
      March 28, 2022

      Farmland is now seen as an asset like gold.
      It apparently offers investors solid returns.
      All this rewilding is probably about the eventual transfer of ownership.
      For the land’s own good, you understand!

      Sub zero temperatures tonight!!

      1. Iain Moore
        March 29, 2022

        I saw some reports from farmers in Wales being cold called by companies wanting to buy up their land , they didn’t want to farm the land, just stick some trees on it to get some rewilding subsidies and Net Zero benefits.

    4. No Longer Anonymous
      March 28, 2022

      Indeed. Even if we do grow and rear food here will it be us that gets to eat it ?

  4. Sharon
    March 28, 2022

    Does anyone else think our government et al have gone stark raving mad? Most, if not all of the green ideas are totally impractical. Why would a country not try to feed and keep warm its populace?

    The most basic human right is shelter, safety, warmth and food… there’s soon going to be many more struggling to achieve that!

    1. Ian Wragg
      March 28, 2022

      A local farmer on TV says he’s rewilding 24 acres which normally grow potatoes as the subsidy is twice what he would make from planting.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        March 28, 2022

        It all makes for fun hunting-on-horseback land.

        1. Peter2
          March 28, 2022

          No it doesn’t NHL
          You deliberately miss the real point.

      2. M.A.N
        March 28, 2022

        Presumably these subsidies are solely U.K. money? Ie we don’t get anything from the eu now re farming payments John?

      3. alan jutson
        March 28, 2022


        Can you blame him ?

        This has been the problem for years, subsidies, grants, tax breaks, low interest loans, and a selection of high tax rates on some products and services, are screwing up the system, and making a complete mockery of sensible and practical decision making.
        Governments and politicians all over the World are the real problem, not the solution.

    2. Shirley M
      March 28, 2022

      +1 Sharon

      What other countries deprive their own countrymen in order to feed, house, and give pocket money to ‘uninvited guests’? How many legal citizens are being housed in 4* hotels instead of damp ridden hovels?

    3. lifelogic
      March 28, 2022

      Indeed rewilding, solar farms, lack of repair of sea defences and housing are are all it taking land out of production.

      No sensible answer from Lawyer Victoria Prenitis as usual. What is the point of asking questions to ministers when they do not answer them?

      1. SM
        March 28, 2022

        Come come, LL: the final sentence of the response was an example of a bland bureaucratic response that Sir Humphrey himself would have most proud to have produced.

      2. Nigl
        March 28, 2022

        Last sentence spot on. They don’t answer because it would be embarrassing and in any event the MP just ‘goes away’ and nothing happens.

      3. Everhopeful
        March 28, 2022

        Just think of the returns on fertile, productive land when most of it has been trashed beyond quick recovery.
        No wonder food prices are predicted to keep on rising.
        What will the price of decent farmland be?

        Start growing your own veg. Even on a windowsill.
        We now see why the likes of DEFRA were so keen to knock chicken and pig keeping on the head!
        Talk about manipulating the market.
        Ploughshares to etc and hot tubs to pigsties.

        1. Everhopeful
          March 28, 2022

          He who controls the land controls the food supply.
          Ever wondered why govt. encourages folk to concrete over gardens and fill them with trampolines etc?
          Sooooo green….my foot….ecological damage done by decking, fences, concrete…incalculable.

      4. John Hatfield
        March 28, 2022

        Indeed, the Environment Secretary doesn’t seem to understand the need to increase home food production. There is a certain madness about this government.

        1. turboterrier
          March 28, 2022

          John Hatfield

          Certain madness?
          Complete and utter madness

    4. Lifelogic
      March 28, 2022

      Nadhim Zahawi this morning “only two thirds of children leave school able to read, write and do maths to an acceptable standard.” Of course if we spelled “write” without a “w” and made a few other similar & sensible improvements to english spelling perhaps we could get the two thirds up ~ 80%?

      After schools nearly 50% of these children then go on to universities – how many from the 1/3 (unacceptable standard) section I wonder? This mainly for some worthless degrees in largely worthless subjects costing them ~ £90k & lumbering them with debt, 6% interest plus loss of three years+earning and three years learning to work). State education uet another fairly useless, second rate, state monopoly like the dire NHS.

      I wonder if two thirds of MPs can do maths to an acceptable standard? It seems not given their energy policy and that only a handful failed to vote for the climate change act. We know the NHS CEO rather struggles too. Perhaps all MPs should have to have a decent Maths and Physics A level?

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        March 29, 2022

        French is not a phonetically-spelt language either.

        However, their school-leavers are rather more literate than the UK’s.

    5. Mickey Taking
      March 28, 2022

      Sharon, – indeed. The inmates have taken over the sanitorium.

      They are not a Government they are a bunch of DANGEROUS fools.

  5. oldtimer
    March 28, 2022

    This is yet another ministerial waffle answer calculated to conceal rather than to reveal the official intent. For an informed view of farming economics I recommend Harry’s Farm, a YouTube channel, with actual, factual data. It is clear that policy is a mess, that the risks for farmers are sky high at current fertiliser and weed control prices and that yields and output will, consequently, be materially lower for the crops yet to be planted. Does DEFRA have a clue? Does DEFRA actually care?

  6. Julian Flood
    March 28, 2022

    There is a theory that by concentrating energy, labour and chemical inputs on the most fertile land, overall yields would improve.

    Perhaps, Sir John, a better question would ‘When will the ethanol requirement in fuel be dropped?’ Burning food is immoral.


  7. Mike Wilson
    March 28, 2022

    Given the enthusiasm for more domestic food and the supply difficulties in the global system we need to make sure we have the land available

    I think you have missed …. ‘and the Tory government’s obsession with high immigration and multiculturalism … ‘

  8. Dave Andrews
    March 28, 2022

    Does urban jungle count for re-wilding?

  9. The Prangwizard
    March 28, 2022

    Why did you not ask too about the planting of trees on good land which you are in favour of, and the effect that has on food production?

    Would that be an awkward question for you?

  10. Richard II
    March 28, 2022

    So ‘it is expected that the amount of land moving from agriculture production into wilding projects will have no substantive impact on food production.’ I see. Is that because the real impact on food production is being caused by the vast amount of building on farmlands in the South of England where the most productive soil usually lies? Is that also because the real impact on food production will be because farmers will go under, thanks to the skyrocketing costs of red diesel and fertiliser caused by the Russia sanctions policy this government is promoting?

  11. Everhopeful
    March 28, 2022

    Churchill thought that it was a good idea to slaughter many animals at the beginning of WW2. ( claiming they could not be fed).
    Within 3 years there was not enough fertiliser/manure to grow crops.
    Will they remove all hedges? ( proliferation of which finally put an end to highwaymen!).
    We are all Mesolithic now then?
    How keen will they be to rewild ( as if they had the foggiest what nature is) when they can’t feed their own children?

    This land ( I nearly put “Our”)has been cultivated for thousands of years …they can not know what came before!

  12. Everhopeful
    March 28, 2022

    Really…it isn’t as if these people have actually ever got ANYTHING right.
    Yet they persist with potty schemes which are nothing to do with governing.
    And all to do with disaster.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    March 28, 2022

    The actions of this government consistently disadvantage those they were elected to serve. They are a disgrace.

  14. Donna
    March 28, 2022

    It’s the lack of any joined-up thinking in this Government that infuriates me.

    They want to re-wild large areas of the UK so the natural environment and wildlife which is threatened or has been lost over the past few centuries can recover to a more natural state ….. OK, sounds like a fairly reasonable aim.

    But at the same time they have increased the population by 10 million+ over the last 15 years and are continuing to import adults at the rate of around 300,000 every year requiring a massive house-building project and concreting over vast swathes of countryside, particularly in the already over-crowded south. Have you been anywhere near Horsham in West Sussex recently? Horsham used to be a lovely, small market town surrounded by countryside. Now Horsham is a small market town surrounded by new housing estates of bland, characterless little boxes. And similar is going on across England, particularly the south.

    We cannot feed our existing population with the farmland which is already in production. So the Eco obsessives in Government are reducing the availability of farmland by encouraging rewilding of productive land whilst growing the population even further with continual mass immigration which further degrades the environment with millions of new houses and roads to service them.

    And then they obsess about “green energy” ….. placing solar panels over productive fields and sticking ugly, bird-killing windmills over land and sea because they DON’T WANT to use our oil, gas, shale and coal reserves; they’d rather pay to import them.

    This Government couldn’t join the dots in a child’s activity book.

  15. miami.mode
    March 28, 2022

    In view of the non-answers you have received from ministers lately, it is painfully obvious that they either want to hide the truth or they have no idea of what their own policy is.

  16. Christine
    March 28, 2022

    It’s the same where I live. Hundreds of acres of lush cattle grazing pasture has been built on. We used to have some of the best farm land in the country. This Government has gone completely bonkers with their re-wilding and uncontrolled immigration.

    1. Shirley M
      March 29, 2022

      In our area, it is the best arable land that has disappeared, not ‘cheap’ grazing. No more high yield cereals grown here. Small towns now merging into larger towns, because the farmland between them has been covered in new houses and roads.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        March 31, 2022

        Shirley. Sussex is a prime example of what you are talking about.

  17. formula57
    March 28, 2022

    Doesn’t Ms. Prentis know that required form before giving a waffling reply that mainly serves only to fill what would otherwise be an embarrassing silence is to say “My Right Honourable friend makes a good point”? Such a lapse by a minister is surely a resignation matter, no?

    And I think we can all agree that ” no substantive impact” is the right view up until the predictable moment when it is obviously not.

  18. alan jutson
    March 28, 2022

    Perhaps the food rationing events of World War 11 is too far away to remember, so perhaps the siege policy presently being used by Russia on Ukraine may eventually sink in.
    Home food production is important for continuity and security of supply, it also uses up fewer food miles than imports, with all of the benefits which that brings.
    Life is all about balance and choice, but if you cannot feed yourself, due to availability problems or cost, then you do not have much opportunity for choice.
    Our population is now nearly 50% greater than in 1940, and due to housing, infrastructure, and National Park development, we have less land available for farming than before.
    Aware farming methods have improved over the years, but so has the use of chemicals.

  19. acorn
    March 28, 2022

    “According to Rewilding Britain, 7 million hectares out of the UK’s 24.25 million hectares is possibly rewildable.

    ” If we could traverse the UK in one day – that’s England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – covering some 242,495 km² [24.25 million hectares], we’d get a fantastic snapshot of what’s happening on the land. We’d spend:

    Just over half the day walking across pasture and arable land Nearly a quarter of the day negotiating peatland, heathland and grasslands Around three hours comparing and contrasting coniferous, deciduous, mixed and transitional woodland We’d have covered 86% of the land seeing few buildings and few people. We’d realise just how green and non-urban Britain and the UK is. We’d only spend 1 hour 45 minutes moving through our urban spaces, and that would include significant chunks of urban green space, such as parks. But 83% of the population lives in this small space, covering just 6% of our land mass.

    If we look at just buildings, they take up even less space. It’s estimated that all the buildings in the UK (houses, shops, offices, factories and so on) cover just 1.4% of the total land surface. Taking England alone, the most urban of the four UK nations, the figure rises to only 2%.” https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/explore-rewilding/what-is-rewilding/have-we-space-to-rewild

  20. No Longer Anonymous
    March 28, 2022

    Mass immigration is still going on apace though.

    At least we can now see that the Tory party is no good.

    An 80 seat majority. Out of the EU. No-one else to blame.

  21. Elizabeth Spooner
    March 28, 2022

    Re-wilding is a rich man’s toy and has no regard to food security, the size of the population to be fed and the amount of land available to produce it. A return to reality with regard both to food and energy security is sorely needed by this government. Perhaps getting out of London into the muddy fields of the producers and away from impractical theorists, might help bring ministers back down to earth.

  22. MFD
    March 28, 2022

    I’m starting to believe that except for around twenty or thirty Members of Our Parliament the other four hundred + are traitors.
    Time they put the British public FIRST.

  23. Original Richard
    March 28, 2022

    The Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food is a remain voting ex civil servant of 17 years before becoming an MP.

    So it is not surprising to see a wilding/rewilding policy which reduces our food independence and security as well as assisting the implementation of the Net Zero Strategy to unilaterally cut to zero our 1% contribution to global CO2 emissions by cutting back on the knotty problem of agricultural CO2 emissions.

    BEIS are also helping to reduce agricultural CO2 emissions by replacing food farms with solar farms and wind farms and the Home Office are busy importing large quantities of immigrants so housing and infrastructure to support a rapidly increasing population needs to be built on food farm land.

    Reducing food farm land and hence food security is another consequence of the Civil Service’s desire to implement the Net Zero Strategy and continue with large scale immigration

  24. GeorgeP
    March 28, 2022

    How about the amount of land lost to agricultural production long term? Do any of our politicians, policy makers and civil servants actually think long term?

  25. turboterrier
    March 28, 2022

    That is the standard reply one can expect from civil servants. No real information on numbers of acres and costs. If the truth be known if the normal pattern is followed, not a clue how the countryside works. Rest assured if it’s subsidised then it is going to happen.

  26. Fedupsoutherner
    March 28, 2022

    No figures because basically they don’t know. As with the whole net zero crap they haven’t thought it through. They don’t care about the costs because they can afford it and don’t give a damn for those that cant. A long time Conservative supporter has just left and told me she cannot vote for the madness being inflicted on us any longer. When I was living in Scotland we noticed how much ancient peat bog was being dug up and replaced with concrete for wind turbines. Now you tell us we are paying for peat bogs to be reinstated and repaired. What a sorry state of affairs John when all of the 3 main politial parties seem intent on outdoing each other over so called green issues while actually being responsible for the destruction of nature and it’s people. It doesn’t make sense.

  27. Martin
    March 28, 2022

    I don’t get this policy and Brexit. You either decide to grow as much of our own, with price implications, or import food as cheaply as possible from World Markets.

    As for re-wilding, what is that about? More creepy crawlies? Glorified waste ground for local residents to complain to the local (blameless in this case) council about?

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 29, 2022

      Who are this “you”?

      Farms are not a nationalised collective under government control in the UK.

      They are private property and private businesses, which do, or do not do, that which makes them successful.

      That might involve producing specialist goods entirely for export.

      1. Peter2
        March 29, 2022

        There is a huge bureaucracy involved in farming
        For decades the EU CAP was the dominant policy.
        Now DEFRA call the shots with big subsidies and grants.
        It isn’t a free market at all.

      2. Martin
        March 31, 2022

        “you” as in “A country”. The government sets the agenda. If “wilding” is subsidized and makes more money that say growing cabbage – then guess what, the farmer does “wilding” and not cabbage. The farmer is being controlled by the state. Whether it is for the common good of the state is another question.

  28. Mark B
    March 28, 2022

    Good afternoon.

    . . . the UK government will pay . . .

    Sorry to correct you, Sir John, but it is the UK Taxpayer that will pay. Not that we ever have a say in this.

    Over the next two years it is expected that the amount of land moving from agriculture production into wilding projects will have no substantive impact on food production.

    The cost of food is set to rise worldwide. Many countries will start to keep more of their own produce and this will further lead to price increases and scarcity. If that happens, and we start to cut our own ability to produce food and, keep adding to our own population, what are we going to eat ?

    It used to be said that we had two choice when spending our money – Heat or eat, it was called. Soon we will be unable to do neither.

  29. oldwulf
    March 28, 2022


    Yet another evasive “answer”.

    It seems to me this Government cannot be trusted with anything. Your advice would be appreciated please as to the most effective way to get rid of it.

  30. acorn
    March 28, 2022

    BTW. Getting into Greek LNG Tankers has been a good move for some, but it has caused the spot price of natural gas to US households to rise over 100% in the last year; is that all you say. Buying US gas spot at $5.6 per million BTU; liquefying it; putting it in an LNG Tanker; selling it in Europe for $31.6 per million BTU, is a nice little earner.

    The EU has been importing circa 110 billion cubic meters (bcm) of LNG a year, with a capacity to import circa 200 bcm. Big Joe says he will send an extra 15 bcm of LNG this year. That’s about an extra 86 average LNG tanker loads. Russia’s pipeline gas exports to Europe are equivalent to about a third of global LNG trade. If Europe were to replace all Russian pipeline gas with LNG, it would need to import about 275 bcm, circa 53 percent of total global LNG exports. (HT:News from the Columbia Climate School)

    1. Peter2
      March 28, 2022

      Your description is the result of the Net Zero policy acorn
      We don’t count imports of LNG on our CO2 total.
      So the more we buy in and don’t make ourselves the closer we will be to our crucial ambition.

  31. IanT
    March 28, 2022

    I’ve been reading Sir John’s recent posts with an increasing sense of frustration (he is my local MP)
    I pretty much agree with everything he’s been saying but unfortunately there is a huge gap between what Sir John thinks is ‘sensible’ policy and what the Goverment is actually doing.

    We haven’t had too many (any?) coherent policies from this government in terms of energy & food security, defence, taxation, NI and migration for some years now. The Ukrainian conflict has distracted much public attention from these issues but my energy bills will more than double next week! I’m sure that this will quickly focus many other people’s minds on these issues too!

    The Chancellors obvious use of fiscal drag will continue to covertly increase the overall tax take whatever he claims. His recent “budget” was a disgraceful attempt to disguise this grim reality with spin. But even the best spin will not disguise the increasing hole in peoples pockets as time goes by.

    So I’m not holding my breath Sir John but if your party leadership doesn’t get a very quick grip of things, then the Conservative Party will be toast at the next General Election. If I was Boris, I’d be slamming some of his (and Sunaks) daft eco (& economic) ideas into hard reverse – whilst there is still time. People vote with their pockets and there are no votes in making people poorer.

  32. Mark
    March 28, 2022

    Democracy fails when ministers fail to answer questions openly. If they think that this policy should be pursued they should put the information properly in the public domain.

  33. X-Tory
    March 28, 2022

    Here’s a simple question for you to ask DEFRA, Sir John: How do they define “substantive impact”? Mind you, since they refused to answer your first question they are unlikely to answer this one either.

    Is there really no action backbenchers can take when ministers refuse to answer their questions? You clearly asked for a reply in terms of acres, and this was not provided. You should complain to the Speaker, who exists (inter alia) to uphold the rights of backbenchers and tell him you want to ask an oral question to the Secretary of State, and then ask him why his ministers do not provide the *facts* that they are asked for. That might get the desired result.

  34. XY
    March 28, 2022

    Won’t affect food production…. isn’t that what they said about importing energy?

  35. Iain Gill
    March 28, 2022

    they dont want to answer do they

    they have no clue what they are doing

  36. MFD
    March 28, 2022

    On a different subject, I hope the government is SELLING the arms we are sending out to Ukraine. They can then pay us back just like we had to do to America after the second world war, that loan being repaid a short while ago.

    1. Mitchel
      March 29, 2022

      Ukraine never pays it’s debts-but that doesn’t matter to it’s creditors as they are playing a geo-political game…and it’s only worthless fiat money they are throwing away.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 29, 2022

      Putin has already caused about half-a-trillion USD in damage to property, infrastructure and other things in Ukraine.

      That’s in just one month.

      1. Mickey Taking
        March 29, 2022

        Stones lyrics. – –
        I rode a tank
        Held a general’s rank
        When the blitzkrieg raged
        And the bodies stank

        Pleased to meet you
        Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
        Ah, what’s puzzling you
        Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

        Just as every cop is a criminal
        And all the sinners saints
        As heads is tails
        Just call me Lucifer
        ‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint

        So if you meet me
        Have some courtesy
        Have some sympathy, and some taste
        Use all your well-learned politnesse
        Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah

  37. Malcolm White
    March 28, 2022

    Dear Sir John,

    A bit off-topic, but I see that the Oil & Gas Authority has chosen to rebrand itself as the North Sea Transition Authority in order to “fully incorporate net zero in their decision making” and undoubtedly in that guise to do what they can to impede further oil and gas exploration and use. Not that they were particularly helpful in their original remit to maximise the value of the oil and gas industry – which they clearly haven’t.

    It seems to me that this quango, like all other quangos, instead of remaining focussed on their original remit and doing what they were tasked to do, finds ways to expand their purview and influence and appears to be getting away with it. Who was it in Government that gave them permission to change their purpose? If they were unable to deliver against their original goals they should have been disbanded. Not simply allowed to continue on a different basis.

    1. alan jutson
      March 30, 2022

      And now limit itself to the North Sea judging by the title.

  38. forthurst
    March 28, 2022

    There needs to be a complete clear-out of the whole department including all ministers and civil servants as they are clearly not fit for purpose. There needs to a total ban on house-building on green field sites enshrined in law. All green field sites should automatically be classified as green belt. All land suitable for cultivation either of crops or livestock should be so employed. Land which is nor suitable for cultivation should be examined to determine whether it could be brought into cultivation by appropriate treatment. Our dependency on temperate imported produce should be reduced to the minimum possible. Farmers should not be bribed to abuse their land by governmental clowns.

    1. Iain Moore
      March 29, 2022

      One of the most wasteful policies is to have strips of land around fields that are not farmed but left to grass, I can see little or no environmental benefit to it, the strips of land are sterile bits of clumpy grass, they offer little in the way of environmental diversity for wild life.

  39. turboterrier
    March 28, 2022

    If you read between the lines of what Victoria could have said it might have been along the lines of a brilliant article in the DM on Line by Matt Ridley.

    The madness of our worship of wind: They despoil our glorious countryside, add £6 billion a year to our household bills, and are arguably the most inefficient solution to our energy crisis. So why is the Government planning to make it even easier to build them?

    Four percent of the total primary demand for energy was supplied by wind power
    The wind industry has been fattened on subsidies of more than £6billion a year
    Turbines to be given easier planning process ride than housing or gas drilling

    Well worth the read, another person not being listened to

  40. Nottingham Lad Himself
    March 28, 2022

    I wonder if Sir John knows, given land prices in the UK, have there been any government consultations with e.g. Dutch civil engineers, as to how much useful land could be reclaimed from the sea around the UK?

    1. Peter2
      March 28, 2022

      It is contrary to UK policy to reclaim coastline land impacted by sea erosion.
      The Environmental Agency thinks it interferes with the natural order.
      Ask people in Fairbourne in Wales or people living on the coast in Norfolk in England.
      Just two examples of many.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        March 29, 2022

        Thank you.

        The Environment Agency cannot override general government policy, of course.

        1. Peter2
          March 29, 2022

          The agency has huge powers of its own.
          It sets its policies on things like intervention based on the perceived requirements of the Climate Change Act giving it a very wide brief.

          1. Nottingham Lad Himself
            March 30, 2022

            Until Parliament disagrees.

            The Tories have an 80 seat majority.

          2. Peter2
            March 30, 2022

            Parliament voted almost without any rebels.
            The Climate Change Act has been the ultimate virtue signalling Act.
            Costing billions.

  41. KB
    March 28, 2022

    There you have it.
    We are living in an idiocracy.
    You will get similar attitude from the Net Zero supporters.

  42. glen cullen
    March 28, 2022

    I believe that the ‘new energy strategy’ to be published this week will be the most important document of the parliament…..so has its policies been agreed by just the cabinet, or the parliamentary MP or by the party machine ? or as I suspect the strategy’ document would’ve been written just by Boris and Co

  43. Chris E
    March 29, 2022

    I’ve been reading through many of these replies – about half. It might’ve been noted in the half I didn’t read, so apologies if I’m repeating something, but I just want to point out that probably every government in the world follows to the letter the dictates of Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Form (funded by the one thousand richest corporations in the world). This is supported on the other hand by the UN and their Agenda 30 (not sure how far down the track they are with Agenda 21). If you think the world governments have gone mad (they have), the madness is filtering down from these inconceivably wealthy people, and inconceivably stupid bureaucrats, who live in such a rarified world of expensive toys and whiteboards that they have no conception of the practical day-to-day concerns and realities that the rest of us have to deal with. The bad news is they are literally insane. The good news is – and the evidence is right here in these comments – that ordinary people have infinitely more practical problem solving skills than any current politician, economist or bureaucrat. If the people commenting here just keep communicating and putting in their ideas, they will very quickly come to real working solutions. The most difficult problem by far is how to keep meddling politicians, economists and bureaucrats out of the picture …..

  44. IMHO
    March 30, 2022

    Dear Sir John

    As an aside, at least there was some good news today: a vow to cut civil service numbers. Since the home office is failing to control immigration levels and stop incentivising the invasion of dinghy people, I suggest the staff responsible need to be ditched, and start again. I also hope to see non-jobs such as NHS Diversity Managers culled.

    But we shall see and I will not hold my breath.

    Because I am sick to the back teeth of hearing daily of staggering incompetence. I am unsure at times, whether the policies come from the minister responsible or the Snivel Service they are obeying. Regardless, the government has to be held responsible, they are the ones who need to de-Blairise and de-woke the service, and indeed remind it of the word SERVICE.

    I am very much in favour of wildlife friendly farming, but like some readers here I fear an ulterior motive, and that is more houses and parasitic corporations hunting more taxpayers’ money.

    This government has FAILED to control immigration and to deport people who should not be here. If the government needs to withdraw our signature from agreements the likes of Treason May signed on “our” behalf, such as the UN Migration Pact, then it must be done.
    Sensible Conservatives would notice how obvious it is that people are angry about this issue, and would form a coalition to dissect and tackle it properly because Patel obviously cannot and the government is failing to help her. We are daily importing more mouths to feed with this agricultural policy to grow less food. There is literally no joined-up thinking, no overview. In the same way, we are pursuing Net – Zero whilst importing more people, how are the two compatible?

    (Piece left out Ed) Why has the government not reversed Blair’s damaging law changes on immigration?

    I wonder, I just wonder what it would be like to have a Government that cares more for and prioritises it’s own people, and a Civil Service that did the same.

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