‘Polluter pays’ principle to bump up costs for farmers

Farmers should expect to pay more for fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and slurry storage facilities after the UK leaves the EU, according to a key Government adviser.

Professor Dieter Helm, who is chair of the Natural Capital Committee, told Farmers Guardian in an exclusive interview that a ‘more effective application of the polluter pays principle’, proposed in both the 25-Year Environment Plan and the future farming policy consultation, would mean higher costs for farmers.

Though Prof Helm made clear he does not speak for the Government, his influence on Defra’s thinking is unmistakable – many of the positions he has outlined on the Common Agricultural Policy’s impact on land prices and a desire to protect the uplands, for example, have found their way into official documents.

His academic prowess has also been publicly acknowledged by Defra Secretary Michael Gove, who recently told a House of Lords committee he had made an ‘impeccable intellectual case’ for breaking up the Environment Agency.

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