THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA)has welcomed a government agriculture bill which could see farmers paid for 'public goods' including improving air and water quality.

The bill, which was presented to Parliament yesterday, set out how farmers and land managers may be paid for various environmental improvements.

That includes improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “We fully support the ambition for a future where farming and food production go hand in hand with a healthy environment.

“The CLA has long promoted a contractual model for the delivery of public goods. This should provide clear objectives and obligations for both the Government and the land manager.

"We are pleased the Government has recognised the full range of public benefits that farmers and land managers can deliver and that they will be rewarded for [delivering 'public goods']."

There is uncertainty as to what impact a 'no deal' Brexit would have on the policy, which is in its early stages.

Farmers will be supported over a seven year transition period as we as leave the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), DEFRA said.