The NATIONAL Farmers Union has teamed up with Greener UK, a coalition of 13 environmental organisations, to demonstrate how a Brexit deal can work for both farming and the environment.

NFU President Minette Batters and Greener UK chair Shaun Spiers have come together in a joint statement that there must be free and frictionless trade between the UK and European Union, and that a ‘cliff-edge’ Brexit could bring farms to the brink of collapse.

The statement said: "For better or worse, over the last 45 years the EU has played an unarguably important role in the way we manage our landscape, firstly through the Common Agricultural Policy and latterly through the Single Market’s role in environmental regulation. Now, as we prepare to leave, questions about how we continue to manage our countryside are stimulating an important, and sometimes controversial, debate.

"Producing food from the land and caring for our environment have all too often been framed as being in conflict. And it must be acknowledged that farming’s impact on nature and the countryside has, at times, been damaging. However, we are now in a position where we not only have a far better understanding of the scale of the problem, but also have many of the solutions to address issues such as declines in some farmland birds and poor water quality.

"In recent decades, many farmers in the UK have taken ownership of these environmental challenges, and taken steps to address them, delivering real results for nature. Farmers are getting better at exploring innovative techniques as well as rediscovering lost expertise that can help them to provide not only a safe and affordable supply of food but also healthier soils, cleaner waterways and more abundant wildlife.

"We must ensure this good work is maintained, particularly where nature remains in decline and landscapes continue to be damaged. But it is not a straightforward challenge. There are still uncertainties as to how we best manage our land both for food production and for the public goods the market won’t pay for. We also know that farmers and environmentalists won’t always agree on the best ways of doing so. But we share the same starting point and the same ambition: we value above all else our natural environment, without which we would have nothing, and we are committed to protecting its long-term health (for) future generations."