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Environmental groups criticised the measures as insubstantial and accused ministers of failing in their promises to use the UK’s departure from the EU to strengthen environmental protections and reduce the damaging impacts of farming.
Farmers will be paid between £20 and £58 per hectare in England for basic measures to protect and nurture their soils, and nearly all farmers are likely to be eligible to apply for the payments, which will cover arable soils for crop cultivation as well as grassland, moorland and other soils.
The payments, along with others to come in future for further conservation measures, are set to reach £900m a year by the end of 2024, to meet the Government’s pledge to phase out the old taxpayer subsidies based on the amount of land farmed – under the EU’s common agricultural policy – and replace them with payments of “public money for public goods”
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