GOVERNMENT, farmers, foresters and land-based businesses should strive to seize the opportunity to create a new food, farming and environmental policy to deliver better outcomes than the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
This is the message delivered today jointly by Scottish Land & Estates and the CLA, which represents farmers, foresters and landowners in Scotland, England and Wales.
The two organisations have published a new briefing on the six principles for building a more competitive and sustainable rural economy in post-Brexit Britain. Between them, members of the Scottish Land & Estates and the CLA farm and manage 16 million acres of the UK’s rural land.
David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Whichever part of the UK you are in, a world-leading food, farming and environmental policy is needed which creates better outcomes for our agricultural and forestry sectors, the rural economy, our environment and also rural communities while also delivering better value for money for the taxpayer.
“Following the referendum result, there are many moving parts in the political landscape and we are in uncharted waters. We have already said that certainty and clarity needs to be provided by all levels of government at the earliest opportunity and we fully understand the complexity of the situation. However, we can only begin to prepare for the future by making decisions based on the situation as it stands.
“This does mean a replacement for the CAP will have to be devised and such a complex task will have to be addressed sooner rather than later. Given the structures of existing legislation, a replacement for the CAP would mean a UK-wide policy would need to be developed by the administrations of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This would take into account the differing characteristics and needs of the rural sectors in each country. It would then be for the devolved administrations to implement the policy in accordance with their own needs and aspirations.
“The EU Common Agricultural Policy is cumbersome and unwieldy but provides important economic, environmental and social benefits. It would be disastrous for agriculture, forestry, the environment and the wider rural economy if we were to lose momentum post Brexit.
“Our members want to provide the country with a safe, secure supply of food and wood products, to continue improving biodiversity, help tackle climate change and manage the UK’s distinctive landscapes for this generation and for those to come. We are calling on the Governments of the UK to make an early commitment that they will establish the new Food, Farming and Environmental policy that this vision depends upon.”
The six fundamental principles for the new Food, Farming and Environmental Policy are:
·A productive, competitive farming and forestry sector: the policy must enable UK farmers to be competitive on domestic and international markets, with a renewed recognition as the nation's primary food suppliers
·Food security: the policy must promote innovative, sustainable ways to increase production and manage risk
·Enhancing the environment: the policy must be more ambitious than its predecessors in meeting environmental challenges
·A dedicated UK budget: Government must provide sufficient funds for the policy across the whole of the UK and take a long term approach
·Value for Money: the policy must deliver value for money in the way it is implemented and in the outcomes it delivers to the benefit of everyone
·Clear, proportionate regulation: the standards that must be met should be clear, with guidance for businesses to achieve compliance.
‘New Opportunities: The Case for a World-leading Food, Farming and Environmental Policy” is available to read on the Scottish Land & Estates website.