Environment Secretary George Eustice set out his vision for farming today - but wildlife charities have said that Brexit farming promises have been broken.

He also shared further details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive – the first of the new environmental land management schemes – which will be rolled out next year.

Farmers will receive payment for taking actions which generate environmental benefits, such as improving grasslands or soils.

Emphasising the role of domestic food production in food security, he highlighted that the sectors the UK has greatest self-sufficiency in food production tend to be those that have not traditionally been subsidised and he highlighted how encouraging techniques such as regenerative agriculture can reduce costs and improve profit margins as well as helping the environment.

Eustice said: “While it is not for me to tell an individual farmer what to do, I accept that we need to be clear about the policy outcomes we seek.

"These are to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, to plant up to 10,000 hectares of trees per year in England, to improve water quality, to create more space for nature in the farmed landscape and to ensure that we have a vibrant and profitable food and farming industry which supports the government’s levelling-up agenda and helps safeguard our food security.”

However, Brexit farming promises have been broken, wildlife charities have said.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “After leaving the EU, we were promised that the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money given to farmers would be used to improve our natural world.

“But today’s publication shows a shocking lack of ambition which does very little to address the climate and nature crises.

“The government seems intent on perpetuating the iniquities of the EU’s much-derided Common Agricultural Policy.

“Worse still, nature-friendly farmers look set to lose out too.”

Mr Bennett said the new scheme should be used to reward farmers for actions like restoring peatlands and employing ambitious measures to prevent soil and pollutants from washing into rivers.

He added: “It’s an absolute scandal that the government has failed to seize this unique and important opportunity to improve farming so it can help restore nature and address the climate crisis.”

Beccy Speight, RSPB chief executive, agreed that the government is wasting a “perfect opportunity” to reform farming.

She added: “Not only does this go against public wishes but it also undermines the government’s ability to deliver their own environmental targets as a result.

“Farmers want to be doing more but they need incentives in place to help them.”

The Environment Secretary also announced that farmers would be able to access funding for an annual health and welfare visit – a fully funded vet visit once a year which can help to reduce endemic diseases and conditions within livestock – providing further financial support and helping to raise animal welfare standards even further.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive will bring together a wide range of actions that farmers can take to deliver improved outcomes for the environment into a set of universal standards.

Initially, farmers will be able to select from three standards – Arable and Horticultural Soils, Improved Grassland Soils, and Moorland and Rough Grazing.

The Arable and Horticultural Soils standard offers between £22 - £40 per hectare and includes activities such as testing of soil organic matter.

The Improved Grassland Soils standard offers between £28 - £58 per hectare for activity including producing a soil management plan or herbal leys on at least 15 per cent of land.

The Moorland and Rough Grazing standard offers £148 fixed per agreement per year, plus an additional variable payment rate of £6.45 per hectare.

Farmers will be able to access up to £58 per hectare for improving soils from next year.

As the rollout progresses, the government will include further standards to deliver wider environmental outcomes, such as improving hedgerows and combining trees or shrubs with crop and livestock farming.