News update, April 2017

This email is a call to action, in response to the UK’s triggering of Article 50 and publication last week of the government’s white paper on the Great Repeal Bill. This email asks you to:

  1. Sign up your organisation to a joint letter to PM Theresa May, calling for maintenance of high standards for food, farming and fishing. Draft attached; comments and sign-ons by Wednesday 19 April, with a revised draft to be sent round for sign-off by 26 April. [Note: this is explicitly supportive of a parallel letter from environmental organisations to the PM (coordinated by Greener UK and Wildlife & Countryside Link), to which Sustain was also a signatory. We warmly encourage participation by environmental organisations in both letters, to demonstrate linkages (particularly on agriculture and fisheries) and mutual support.]
  2. Promote a public e-action, so that MPs start to hear from constituents that they want high standards for food, farming and fishing to be championed through the Great Repeal Bill process and beyond: http://act.sustainweb.org/lobby/brexit_food_standards.

To set the above in context, these contribute to work to ‘bank’ existing standards, preventing a backwards slide towards ‘Bad Food Britain’. We are of course also keeping high in our minds and related activities (such as those reported below) the need to ‘build’ towards a positive vision of a ‘Better Food Britain’ – or similar framing.

Thank you! As the saga unfolds, we’ll be in touch again. To see how this fits in with our plans and others work around Brexit, read on…


In other Great Repeal Bill updates…

Great Repeal Bill amendments: Sustain will be briefing MPs on potential amendments to the Great Repeal Bill. Whilst the draft Bill itself has not yet been published, the white paper published last Thursday, and earlier reports and analysis, set the scene for the likely areas that MPs will need to address. We are also considering a consultation response to the white paper. If you have suggestions on either, get in touch. This blog from Richard Benwell, Head of Government Affairs at Wildlife & Countryside Link provides insights: http://www.wcl.org.uk/repeal-bill-stricter-scrutiny-needed-to-make-the-white-paper-green.asp

 

Brexit Food Briefs: Sustain is collecting stories of specific standards and protections, as well as associated institutional issues such as research and compliance, that are potentially under threat from the Great Repeal Bill or new executive powers. Our aim is to “bring the issues alive” for public debate and the media, across a wide range of themes. Get in contact if you want your specialist subject featured.  If we have already been in touch with you, thank you for the material and expertise submitted so far!


In other Sustain Brexit Forum updates…

Time for an Act? Next Monday (10th April), Sustain is convening a meeting kindly hosted by City University London to continue to explore ideas for new legislation for better food, farming and fishing, beyond this period of Brexit transition. We will also use some time in the meeting to discuss our plans and the collective responses to the Great Repeal Bill. Places are limited, but we hope to host another of these in the coming months. Details: Monday 10 April, 10.30am (coffee from 10am) to 1pm, Room D427 at City University London. RSVP to kath@sustainweb.org (places limited to 25).

Brexit Food Business Forum: Sustain is continuing to work with Food Ethics Council, Forum for the Future and the Soil Association on reaching out to businesses to discuss food, farming and fishing issues in relation to Brexit, and exploring options to enable the voices of progressive food and farming businesses to be heard more prominently in the Brexit debate. Contact ben@sustainweb.org if you would like to know more.

Policy Commission: The steering group of this proposed initiative, instigated by Helen Browning of the Soil Association, and involving Sustain and other members, is continuing to meet and develop ideas, currently looking at terms of reference, name, funding, potential Chair, and a fair and transparent Commissioner recruitment process.

25 Year Food and Farming Plan: Still not published – maybe it will be; maybe it won’t; maybe they’re starting from scratch?! To paraphrase Mark Twain: “Reports of its death may have been greatly exaggerated.”  In response to a PQ on 24 March, farming minister George Eustice said: “Our ambition is to be a world-leading food, farming and fishing nation that grows more, sells more and exports more of our food around the world. To this end, we are committed to publishing a 25-year food and farming plan and in order to develop this we are currently gathering views from right across industry and all parts of the UK.” If you get any more intel, do let us know!

For any of the items listed above, contact Kath Dalmeny; kath@sustainweb.org (unless otherwise indicated). If you wish to be removed from our Brexit mailing list at any point, let Ben or Kath know.


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