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Greater transparency on UK frameworks needed

Much greater clarity about post-Brexit UK-wide agricultural frameworks is urgently needed, Scottish Land & Estates has said.

The organisation, which represents land-based businesses across Scotland, took part in an evidence session of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

The committee heard from environmental lawyers and experts on the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the development and implementation of common or shared frameworks associated with Brexit. The session explored:

  • The nature, scale and number of potential shared frameworks that may relate to work within the remit of the ECCLR Committee and likely issues that these could cover;
  • the principles that should be used to guide the development of such frameworks;
  • the form could such frameworks take; and
  • potential shared governance arrangements for such frameworks.

Andrew Midgley, Policy and Research Manager at Scottish Land & Estates, said: ”A common framework could be necessary to help maintain the market within the UK, facilitate the negotiation of trade deals and potentially protect the rural budget. Any framework would have to be mutually agreed and not imposed by Westminster and allow the different parts of the UK a high degree of freedom to choose to implement policy as they choose.

“Creating frameworks is not going to be easy because there are difficult issues relating to how they are established and operate, and how they are policed. This presents extremely difficult issues in the context of devolution.

“We are pleased that the UK and Scottish Government managed to agree some principles on establishing common frameworks and that the governments appear to be trying to work through what this might look like and involve. However, we need to see quicker progress on both the high-level governance issues about how this could operate and agreement on the areas which require frameworks to be applied.

“There is also a pressing need for the Scottish Government to be much more visible in articulating its priorities for future agricultural and rural policy. The UK Government, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, is starting to provide detail on how they visualise the post-Brexit landscape and we want to see the Scottish Government make their own case forcibly in a way that serves Scottish land management.”

 

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