For all the latest developments, please see our REUL and Good Food Trade campaigns.
The UK has now exited the European Union, a UK-EU agreement has been signed and thousands of laws have been transferred on to the UK statute book (known as Retained European Legislation). These laws, which the UK helped draw up, cover the protection of the environment, food and farming standards, public health and workers’ rights.
New trade deals with Australia and New Zealand have been signed and a number of rollover deals negotiated. The Government insists it will maintain high food, environment and animal welfare standards but the Retained EU Legislation Bill could revoke regulations covering everything from food safety, labelling and the overuse of antibiotics and pesticides. This could open the door to imports that are currently banned such as hormone beef and chlorine chicken.
If the UK chooses to deviate from EU regulations - the trading bloc can impose counter measures.
The Agriculture Act requires Defra and the statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the impact of future trade deals on UK food and farming. Reports will now be laid before Parliament, alongside the text of proposed trade deals, covering the impact of that deal. Advice is supposed to be sought on health aspects too.
New report shows maintaining food standards in trade deals remains top consumer concern
14 Dec 2021
Climate Change Committee chair says trade deals ‘are unfair on farmers and won’t help emissions’
25 Oct 2021
Government responds to the first Trade and Agricultural Commission report and announces new commission
21 Oct 2021
To ensure joined-up policy activities, Sustain is also working with:
All Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology
An informal, cross-party group of MPs and Peers interested in sustainable food and farming. The APPG on Agroecology for sustainable food and farming was formed to provide a parliamentary focus for the contribution of agroecology to food security in the UK and worldwide.
Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics
The Alliance to Save our Antibiotics is a coalition of health, medical, farming, environmental and civil society organisations from across the EU, founded by Sustain, Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association. Our vision is a world in which human and animal health and well-being are protected by food and farming systems that do not rely on routine antibiotic use.
Food Research Collaboration
Coordinated by the Centre for Food Policy at City University London, facilitates joint working by academics and civil society to improve the UK food system, including running seminars involving academics, civil society, policy-makers and industry. A key focus for this work over the next few years will be Brexit, and co-creating better governance for food, farming, fishing and trade.
A group of 13 major environmental organisations, with a combined public membership of 7.9 million (some of which organisations are also members of the Sustain alliance). They are united in the belief that leaving the EU is a pivotal moment to restore and enhance the UK’s environment.
Nourish Scotland campaigns on food justice issues in Scotland. Nourish believes that tasty and nutritious food should be accessible to everyone, be sustainable, and be produced, processed, sold and served in a way that values and respects workers. Nourish is a leading voice promoting the Good Food Nation Bill for Scotland, and a Right to Food.
Sustainable Soils Alliance
The Sustainable Soils Alliance is a partnership of farming organisations, businesses, NGOs, applied science and academia working together to reverse the current crisis in soil health and restore our soils to health within one generation. Sustain is working with this alliance to ensure that the new UK Agriculture Bill and Environmental Land Management Scheme help to reverse the soils crisis.
Trade Justice Movement
The Trade Justice Movement is a UK coalition calling for trade rules that work for people and planet. Sustain is working with the Trade Justice Movement’s call for the new UK Trade Bill to support trade justice, with the rules weighted to ensure sustainable outcomes for ordinary people and the environment
Unlock Democracy is a grassroots organisation arguing and campaigning for a vibrant, inclusive democracy that puts power in the hands of the people. Unlock Democracy is coordinating cross-sector work on the Great Repeal Bill, and Sustain is working with the team in their efforts to achieve the best democratic, social, economic and environmental outcomes.
Wildlife & Countryside Link
Wildlife and Countryside Link brings together 46 environment and animal protection organisations to advocate for the conservation and protection of wildlife, countryside and the marine environment. Taken together they have the support of over eight million people in the UK and manage over 750,000 hectares of land. Sustain is working closely with the Link Legal Strategy group.
Brexit: We stand at a cross-roads. When the UK leaves the European Union, will our leaders uphold good standards for our food, farming, fishing and trade deals? And will they agree a sensible deal with the EU? We need to make sure that they do!
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