Bishop of St Albans asks about avian influenza compensation, farmers incomes, and plant biosecurity

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 22nd March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 8 March (HL5863), how much they paid to farmers in 2022 as part of the Avian Influenza Compensation scheme.

Lord Benyon (Con): In 2022, a total of £41.0 million was paid in compensation to bird keepers whose flocks were culled for avian influenza disease control purposes.


The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what was the average income of farmers in the UK in (1) 2022, (2) 2021, (3) 2020, and (4) 2019.

Lord Benyon: The average Farm Business Income for farms in the UK are as follows;

2019/20 £39,000

2020/21 £46,500

2021/22 not yet available

These have been taken from in a new tab) and have been compiled from the 4 devolved Farm Business Surveys. Defra are only responsible for the English data.

The average Farm Business Income for farms in England only, from the Defra Farm Business Survey are as follows;

2019/20 £46,000

2020/21 £51,900

2021/22 £86,100

2022/23 to be published Nov 2023

Taken from Farm Business Income by type of farm in England 2021/22 – GOV.UK ( in a new tab).

Data are reported on a March – February year, so 2021/22 year includes the 2021 harvest and BPS payments (March 21 – Feb 22)


The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what resources they are making available to implement their Plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain (2023 to 2028), published on 9 January.

Lord Benyon: Plant health is a devolved matter. The Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain (2023-2028) sets out the joint approach that Defra, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Forestry Commission will take to plant biosecurity for the next five years.

Financial information is not held centrally. Collation of this information across the different government bodies which deliver plant health services (for example, Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Forestry Commission and RBG Kew) in Great Britain was not possible within the timeframe.

Defra’s annual accounts report a spend of over £330 million on animal and plant health in 2021/22. It has not been possible to provide a breakdown of this spend within the timeframe.

As part of the new plant biosecurity strategy for GB, Defra is investing in a range of new initiatives, including:

  • Over £10 million on new information technology to transform the work of the plant health service.
  • Over £4.5 million on a new Centre for Forest Protection at Forest Research and RBG Kew.
  • Defra has increased the number of plant health inspectors to meet demand since January 2021, when checks of high priority plants from the EU began, ensuring minimal disruption to trade. This includes recruiting 137 new plant health inspectors to perform import checks. New inspectors will also undertake work in the APHA expanded Internet Trading Unit, to step up monitoring of online retailers and social media sites for the trade of high-risk plant products.
  • Since 2020, we have also doubled the workforce at Border Control Posts, an essential component of the UK’s biosecurity regime.
  • To ensure that we effectively protect UK biosecurity, the UK Government will continue to monitor plant health inspector resource against the demand for checks and emerging risks of pests and disease that our imports pose. We will be publishing more details on our new risk-based approach very soon in the upcoming border Target Operating Model.


%d bloggers like this: