Four years after a new post-Brexit payments system was promised by ministers, confusion leaves bid to improve biodiversity in limbo

Farmers are putting off planting trees because of the uncertainty surrounding the government’s plans for subsidies based on protecting nature, delaying the UK’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and stem the drastic decline in farmland wildlife.

New farm payments are expected from 2024, under the post-Brexit subsidy regime the government has promised, but farmers fear if they plant trees now they will not get the credit for it when the new schemes start. Meanwhile, they face potentially losing their existing subsidies if they switch to more tree-planting now.

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