Page 11 - BREXIT 2
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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers The longer-term willingness to to fund agricultural policy to to the the extent enjoyed for the the last decade or or or more (circa £3 billion) is not known Public finances were already tight as the Government took office The extraordinary expenditures to to deal with the the Covid-19 pandemic is causing the the public debt to to balloon Future public public public expenditures will demand even more stringent tests of value for public public public money The unexpected public public public expenditures for the the pandemic caused the the planned November 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review to be be postponed The deep uncertainty farmers have been exposed to since 2016 about the domestic agricultural policy therefore largely continues It would be wise for for English farmers to plan on on on the the the assumption that the the the longer run pubic financial support available to them will contract Because implementation of the the CAP was devolved to to the the four UK territories domestic agricultural policy will also be be be devolved and and and there are certain to be be be divergences in in agricultural policy between England Scotland Wales and and N N Ireland The N N Irish situation is is further complicated by the the the fact that the the the Withdrawal Agreement included the the provision that N Ireland essentially remains in in in the the EU customs area to to avoid border controls at at the the the Irish border The extent to to which there will be be divergence between the the the devolved territories in supports to to farmers and interventions to to support markets in in exceptional circumstances is not known How such divergence will be managed is is a a a a a a a a a further unknown These are not trivial matters there is is a a a a a a a a a great deal of cross border trade in in in in agricultural products between the devolved territories including in in in in live animals The Environment Bill The three major areas areas of of the the the Bill are: first giving the the the secretary of of state the the the power to amend regulations in in areas areas of environmental concern concern Major concerns targeted are air and water pollution plastics waste management and resource efficiency Second the Bill proposes to legally enshrine biodiversity targets It will introduce a a a a general duty “enhance” biodiversity in in England and and and Wales and and and make provision for grants of planning permission in in England to to to be subject to to to a a a condition to to to secure the the objective of biodiversity biodiversity net gain Indeed the the ‘biodiversity net gain’ of any development development would have to exceed the pre-development value by 10% This could represent a a a a a a a significant opportunity for land managers who will will supply the net gain The Bill will will also require public consultations before certain tree felling The third aspect of the Bill is to create an environmental watchdog called the Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) The necessity for such a a a a a body was heavily promoted by environmental organisations who who are concerned that outside the the EU there is is is no European Commission whose job it is is is to to to hold Government ‘feet to to to the fire’ to to to implement legislated environmental targets This will be a a a a function of the proposed OEP It remains to be seen what bite this watchdog will have The government claims the Bill is paramount to ensuring both its its 25 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) and its its climate goal of Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 However the the very facts that the the environment plan was launched before and and independently of the the the Net Zero commitment one is for for 25 years years the the the other 30 years years and and that the the the Government’s detailed road map for achieving the the the climate target is far from complete indicate the the the work that remains to ensure coherence between these goals The Environment Bill provides the the basis for the the Government to set its own ‘independent’ environmental standards to to replace those currently enshrined in in EU directives Whether it will use these new powers to to maintain increase or dilute standards post Brexit remains is a a a a a a a a a a a critical unanswered question As a a a a a a a a a a a significant polluter of air water and atmosphere the agricultural sector will be impacted by any changes in approach from the existing standards 9 

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