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Sustain Brexit Sustain Brexit newsletter

News update, May 2017

Well, nobody said that Brexit was going to be dull! In the interests of keeping your inboxes light, we are sending this Sustain Brexit Forum update as short summaries with links. We can provide more details on request. Those with a requested ACTION are at the top and marked. So in a quick tour that gives a beguilingly simple picture of the exceptionally busy few weeks since our last update:

ACTION: Time for an Act? Please cancel May 15th in your diaries, the General Election pulled the plug. Instead, fill in the Doodle for a post-election Taking Stock session (next item). There is great enthusiasm from across the Sustain alliance and beyond for working together towards a Good Food Act (name tbc). We held another meeting in April, and action notes are available from on request. A short summary and background papers are on the Sustain website, and over 40 organisations are now involved.

ACTION: Sustain Brexit Forum: Taking Stock. Please fill in the Doodle for a post-election meeting to ‘take stock’:, London venue tbc. This will be an opportunity to get together, assess manifesto promises in light of the General Election result; discuss the Great Repeal Bill as it becomes imminent; share parliamentary intelligence and opportunities; talk about our hopes for a Good Food Act (name tbc) and new Environment Act, and hear important updates from across our alliance.

General Election 2017: Sustain has written to all UK party leaders and manifesto teams, setting out our Manifesto for a Better Food Britain and five top food priorities. We drew on advice from many Sustain members, as well as the policy priorities for the Great Repeal Bill that we had already consulted on. Thank you for everyone’s input and super-fast turnaround.

Great Repeal Bill: Our co-signed letter is now on hold until after the General Election; we are likely to revise in light of manifestos and the election result; thank you to those signed up so far. In other Repeal Bill news, we have drafted potential amendments; a potential food standards reinstatement bill; and are cultivating parliamentary connections. We are getting ready to roll when the Bill itself is published. Heard any rumours? Please share with

WTO rules: In February, Sustain, Friends of the Earth and RSPB invited members to a meeting to explore the implications of Brexit to food and farming and the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where rules on trade are set by its 164 members; WTO seminar write-up now available.

Environment Act: Sustain continues to benefit from participating in the joint Wildlife & Countryside Link / Greener UK Legal Strategy group developing proposals for a new Environment Act to set the framework for environmental standards. The Manifesto for a Greener UK is available to download.

Priorities for farming policy: Vicki Hird (, our Sustainable Farming Campaign Coordinator, is continuing to consult on priorities for farming policy, and this will be published shortly.

Priorities for fishing policy: Ruth Westcott (, our Sustainable Fish Campaign Coordinator, is continuing to consult on priorities for fishing policy, and this will be published shortly.

Policy Commission (name tbc): Sustain continues to sit on the steering group for this initiative, initiated by Helen Browning of the Soil Association, seeking to establish a public enquiry into the future of UK farming and land use. Current discussions are focusing on recruiting a suitable Chair; open and transparent commission member recruitment; options for provision of independent secretariat services, including funding.

Food Business Brexit Roundtable(s): Which? (formerly Consumers Association) convened a roundtable of food business, government and third-sector representatives, which Sustain participated in. Sustain is also working with Forum for the Future, Soil Association and Food Ethics Council to host a Food Business Brexit Roundtable post-Election. Contact

Wider connections: The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and Open Democracy are hosting meetings involving Sustain and others beyond the food movement to discuss areas of common concern, especially democratic accountability of post-Brexit policy making. Contact Alexandra Runswick:

Defra ‘Building a Great Future’ and other consultations: All postponed until after the General Election. Sustain had gained a place at a regional consultation event; London policy events had also been planned; it remains to be seen how these will be managed by Defra post June 8th.


Other Brexit-related news from the last month

General Election 2017: Manifesto for a Better Food Britain
The General Election to be held on June 8th 2017 will set government priorities for the next five years, with huge implications for the future of the UK’s food, farming and fishing.

Tell Your MP - Don’t let Brexit mean Bad Food Britain
Sustain launched a new action for the public to tell their MP they don’t want Bad Food Britain.

New House of Lords Report on food, farming and Brexit 
Sustain comments on the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee report published this week. The report looks at the implications of Brexit for UK agriculture and food, particularly the implications of leaving the EU's Common Agriculture Policy and the Single Market. 

Keep trade fair after Brexit
A petition submitted to the government supports the argument that the world's poorest farmers must not be penalised by new trading arrangements after the UK leaves the EU.

Uncertainty surrounds the future of chemical regulation
Parliament's environmental watchdog, the Environmental Audit Committee, has produced a report highlighting the confusion surrounding the future of UK chemical regulation post Brexit, and calling on the Government to clarify the situation as a matter of urgency.

Great Repeal Bill: gaping holes where our rights should be
The civil liberties campaign organisation Liberty analysed of the Government’s white paper on the Great Repeal Bill, concluding that it "risks leaving UK residents with far fewer rights than they currently have".

Iain Duncan Smith wants to play Donald Trump with our food standards
In response to an article in The Telegraph on 'cutting red tape', Sustain's Chief Executive, Kath Dalmeny, submitted this letter.

Support for a food and farming policy commission
farmer and veteran food policy maker Lord Curry threw his weight behind the idea of an independent commission on the future of food and farming, post-Brexit (Lord Curry chaired the first such Commission, in 2001).

Update on the People's Food Policy
The People’s Food Policy will be ready for publication in May, and will help campaigners to 'seize the moment' to create a food system that is visionary, progressive, democratic and fair.

Future of British Farming outside the EU
Sustain member the Soil Association has produced a report setting out six 'game-changing' ideas for UK farming outside the EU.

Radical plans for UK food and farming 
Two recent reports commissioned by the Green Party lay out proposals for a more sustainable food system outside the EU.

Wales investigates post-Brexit agriculture policy
The Welsh Affairs Committee of the Westminster government has announced an Inquiry into Agriculture in Wales post-Brexit, and is accepting written submissions.

Lords Brexit inquiry on consumer rights
The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has launched the latest of several parliamentary inquiries into the impacts of Brexit. This one focuses on consumer protections.

Post-Brexit farm animal welfare inquiry
the Parliamentary Energy and Environment sub-committee has launched an Inquiry into farm animal welfare post-Brexit. This is a short inquiry that will take evidence from key industry representatives and academic experts.

Scots want high food standards post Brexit
In Scotland, the Food Standards Agency (FSS) commissioned a survey to gauge consumers' attitudes to possible changes in food regulation, and found 'a high level of satisfaction with current food safety and food standards requirements and very little appetite for change'. 

Scottish food strategy aims to support local producers 
The Scottish Government, along with Scotland's food and drink industries, is supporting a new food and drink strategy, ‘Ambition 2030’, with a £10 million, three-year funding package.

Real Bread Campaign urges government to introduce an Honest Crust Act
The Real Bread Campaign has written to MPs Andrea Leadsom and George Eustice, respectively Secretary of State and Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), calling for improved loaf labelling and marketing legislation.  

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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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