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Sustain Brexit Sustain Brexit newsletter

News update, July 2017

The wheels are now in motion and the calendar of Brexit legislation is becoming a little clearer. It’s worth stressing “a little”, as there is still so much uncertainty. We have pulled together a summary of the main pieces of legislation that Sustain, together with alliance members, will be focusing on over the coming months: /

As we write, the European Withdrawal Bill (also known as the Repeal Bill) is being introduced in Parliament. Sustain will comment on the implications for food, farming and fishing when we have reviewed this and liaised with colleagues at Greener UK, Unlock Democracy and Wildlife & Countryside Link. It’s ever more vital that we join up to agree third-sector priorities and key messages to policy-makers.

To give a better sense of what is happening and when, we’ve produced the attached Sustain Brexit Calendar with the help of those who attended our Taking Stock event at the end of June (detailed notes of that event also attached). Please do comment on this shared calendar – tell us about any relevant Brexit, policy or Parliament-related events we and others should know about to help plan joined-up alliance work on the Campaign for a Better Food Britain.

Kath Dalmeny

Chief Executive, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Brexit Briefings and Blogs
As previously mentioned, we’re collecting ‘specialist briefings’ to help us to bring the issues alive on key food, farming and fishing themes, with authoritative information and expert views from Sustain members on what’s at stake. Thank you to those who have contributed excellent material so far. If you would like to contribute, get in touch: Our recent crop of Brexit blogs include:

Political Party Conferences in Autumn 2017
Sustain is planning a presence at the Labour Party conference (see attached calendar for dates) to talk about sustainable farming and the Agriculture Bill post-Brexit, working with SERA. If you are planning party conference activities and would be interested to share news, collaborate, or have a Sustain alliance speaker at one of your events, get in touch: (on farming-related themes); (on other Sustain themes).

EU Withdrawal (Repeal) Bill coordination
Of special note, Sustain now has a ‘working with’ agreement with the very knowledgeable parliamentary specialist team at Unlock Democracy, who have presented at several of Sustain’s events, and who are now coordinating cross-sector work on the Repeal Bill. Watch this space for further news…

A renewed focus on International Trade
Sustain is liaising with the Trade Justice Network and other colleagues working on international trade. The UK last agreed a trade deal in the early 1970s, so a new Trade Bill is necessary to set the parameters for trade agreements outside the EU. It is likely to be published in the autumn 2017 parliamentary session. But if the UK agrees a new trade deal with e.g. the US or China, who will decide on negotiated standards for pesticides, chemicals, food contaminants, meat hygiene, additives, sugar content, permitted ingredients, food labelling… Liam Fox? Or Parliament? The issue of democratic parliamentary scrutiny of new trade deals will be a major battle ground and relevant to Sustain and alliance members.

Beyond 2020 - New farm policy
Sustain presents principles and policies that would deliver better food and farming when we leave the European Common Agricultural Policy. Coordinated by Vicki Hird, this key briefing was prepared in consultation with Sustain’s Farming Working Party.

Other Brexit-related news from the last month


Will Brexit mean better food for Britain? Join our public debate
London Food Link are joining forces with We Are Waterloo for the closing event of the Waterloo Food Festival, 6-8pm, 28 July.

Inspired by the ‘Wir haben es satt’ (we are fed up) food march that takes place every year in Berlin, the Landworkers Alliance and Friends of the Earth are exploring the possibility of setting up a (smaller) food march in London from 2018 – and they need collaborators. If you’d be interested in joining a conversation about how to make this a reality, email:

Media activity

Vicki Hird, Sustain campaigner, talks farming, food and trade on BBC Panorama
Vicki Hird, Sustain’s Farm Campaign Coordinator features in the BBC Panorama programme broadcast 10 July 2017, talking on the likely impact on our food and farming of a new trade deal with the United States.

Food Act needed for health, jobs and farmers, argues public health leader
A new Food Act is necessary to secure healthy and sustainable diets for our children and for future generations, argues the President of the Faculty of Public Health John Middleton, in the June 2017 edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Third-sector policy activity

People's Food Policy launched
A set of proposals to revolutionise food and farming, for the benefit of producers, consumers and the environment, has been produced by an alliance supported by Sustain and several of our member organisations.

To feed ourselves well after Brexit, we need to change the economics of farming
New Defra Secretary Michael Gove will be staring at a blank page when he creates a new system of support for UK farmers. The Treasury will be gazing hungrily at the fat farm budget (over £3 billion). Which way will Gove swing? Blog by Sustain’s Vicki Hird.

Environment groups set out demands for Repeal Bill
Leading UK environment groups, coordinated by Greener UK and Wildlife & Countryside Link, have set out their shared demands for the Repeal Bill that promises to transpose EU legislation into UK law.

Greener UK publishes Brexit policy "risk tracker"
A coalition of green groups has launched a "risk tracker" to assess which environmental policies are secure, and which are at risk from politicians seeking to weaken environmental standards.

Marine Conservation Society calls for protection of wildlife laws
The Marine Conservation Society is calling on concerned citizens to lobby their MPs to protect wildlife laws that may come into question in the Brexit process.

Farmwel produces blueprint for post-Brexit British agriculture
The farm sustainability consultancy Farmwel has produced a blueprint for agricultural land use and food production in the UK which sets out a vision for post-Brexit British agriculture.

Parliament and policy

Government announces new legislation: Repeal Bill, Trade, Agriculture and Fisheries
Queen’s Speech sets out agenda for two-year Parliament that will see transposition of EU law via the Repeal Bill; a new Trade Bill, Agriculture Bill and Fisheries Bill, as negotiations commence between the UK and EU on the Brexit Deal for the UK leaving the European Union.

Government commits to help the world's poorest countries post-Brexit
Post-Brexit, the UK government has committed to continuing to allow duty-free access to UK markets for some of the poorest countries in the world.

MPs call for Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals
MPs are calling on government to ensure that future trade deals are open to proper scrutiny by the public and parliament.

Farm Minister George Eustice discusses new Agriculture Bill
Farming Minister George Eustice has set out early plans for the UK’s new Agriculture Bill in an interview with Farmers Guardian. He signals a ‘very intense phase of engagement’ with NGOs and farming organisations during autumn 2017, followed by ‘quite clear indications’ of the scope of the Agriculture Bill in early 2018.

800 to 1,000 laws to be amended, with or without parliamentary scrutiny
Brexit Minister Steven Baker estimates that 800 to 1,000 EU-exit related laws will need to be amended; the Hansard Society warns that this could take place without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

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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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