Tuesday, 3 January 2017

[UK]Brexit 'could put countryside, farming and wildlife at risk'

British farming faces significant risks after Brexit - including a loss of subsidies, tariffs and increased competition, according to a new report.
Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee is also warning the Government that environmental protections must not be weakened.
The Committee's chairman Mary Creagh said: "Changes from Brexit could put our countryside, farming and wildlife at risk.
"Protections for Britain's wildlife and special places currently guarded under European law could end up as 'zombie legislation', even with the Great Repeal Bill".
Ms Creagh is now calling on the Government to introduce new legislation before Article 50 is triggered.
EU subsidies currently make up more than half of farm income and it is not yet clear whether similar grants will continue after Brexit.
Today's report suggests that in future they should be linked to the promotion of biodiversity, preventing flooding and storing carbon.
The Environmental Audit Committee believes farmers could face a triple jeopardy situation due to changes in the UK's trading relationships.
It also claims that outside the single market sheep exports could face tariffs in excess of 30% and 50% for beef.
In order to avoid that happening, the The National Farmers' Union (NFU) insists Britain's trade deal must be right.
Though it acknowledges that Brexit could be an "enormous opportunity," the organisation is campaigning to stay within the single market, especially as the majority of farmed exports are sent to other parts of Europe.
Despite the concerns raised in the report, many farmers say they are excited about the future.
Rodney Down, who runs a dairy farm in Taunton, voted to leave the European Union. Farming has been in his family for generations.
He told Sky News: "It is not all about subsidies. We don't necessarily want a handout. Give us the correct environment and we can produce cracking British food that our home consumers want to eat, foreigners want to eat.
"Give us that environment, that platform to produce it and there is less need for a handout."
The Government insists it is determined to get a good deal for the UK, not least for the food and farming industry, which it believes is a key part of the nation's economic success.


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