A total of 36 Conservative MPs are urging Theresa May to shift billions of pounds of post-Brexit farm subsidies towards protecting the environment.
Through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), UK farmers receive £3 billion annually.
In a letter, the Tory MPs are calling on the Prime Minister to “take advantage of the repatriation of CAP by shifting subsidies in favour of paying farmers for delivering services for the environment and public good”.
They also believe Ms May should maintain EU directives for the protection of wildlife and water.
The MPs who signed the letter include head of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee Neil Parish and former environment ministers Caroline Spelman and Richard Benyon and member of the environmental audit select committee Zac Goldsmith.
They said leaving the EU poses risks and opportunities but the government can overcome the risks and take full advantage of the opportunities “to ensure our living environment flourishes for future generations”.
Mr Goldsmith said: “Done properly, Brexit is a massive opportunity for our environment. We are urging the PM to put existing EU environmental protections into British law and to honour the green manifesto commitments we made before the election in full but more than that, Brexit allows us to repatriate and reform the environmentally disastrous Common Agriculture Policy to make sure farm subsidies are there to pay for environmental and public services. The upside is enormous.”
ELN has contacted the Primer Minister’s Office for a statement.