Fresh analysis from Sustain, the food and farming alliance, suggests that Britain’s domestic regulators are hopelessly ill equipped for the extra work load that leaving the EU will entail.
Government will enforce new rules for water use on farms in England from 2 April 2018. The regulations will aim to avoid water pollution and benefit farm businesses.
Defra publishes ten-week consultation on the UK's first major new farming legislation since 1947. Sustain's Farming Campaign Coordinator Vicki Hird gives an initial response to seeing a version of the consultation.
GM Freeze ask for help to challenge this trial of modified oilseed rape seeds.
18 environmental groups, co-ordinated by Wildlife and Countryside Link, respond to the latest Government waste and recycling figures by demanding legally binding targets.
A parliamentary committee has told the government’s Brexit and trade negotiators that they must not sacrifice Britain’s high food standards in order to secure trade deals.
Currently, farming is judged using a narrow and outdated definition of 'economic productivity' that does little to recognise the vital role of farming, and the costs to farmers, in conserving natural resources and our farmed landscape. Productivity and farm efficiency need to be redefined for the modern age, argues Sustain's sustainable farming campaigner Vicki Hird.
The much trailed environment plan has been anticipated in much the same way as the Stone Roses Second Coming. Although not five years in the making, there was still the suspicion that the plan was going to struggle to please the fans.
It is exactly one year since the Groceries Code Adjudicator consultation (1) closed and yet we still haven't had a response from the Government. Today Sustain welcomes the new small businesses minister to post and calls on him to put this at the top of his new to do list.
Prime Minister Theresa May has reshuffled her Cabinet but Secretary of State for Defra Michael Gove has remained in post. Sustain welcomes his continued tenure, but also highlights the need to keep up the pressure to turn his promises into reality.
The January 2018 Oxford Real Farming Conference will go down in collective memory as a milestone in our movement’s history, filled to the rafters with 900 food and farming colleagues, questions, conversation and debate. The event featured a Q&A with Defra Secretary Michael Gove, and seven lively sessions on the implications of Brexit for food and farming, stewarded by Sustain.
A UN compliance committee is considering a complaint submitted by Sustain member Friends of the Earth, alleging that the UK government has breached the Aarhus Convention by not consulting the British public over the EU Withdrawal Bill
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is the Government’s principal body for managing the seas around England.
The rich debate about how we deliver new farming and land management support after we leave the CAP is getting interesting. As we anticipate the White Paper on a new UK Agriculture Bill in 2018 choices are presenting themselves. How will new schemes work out on the farm? How will decisions actually get made? The following are ideas for the discussion ahead.
There was excellent news today for Sustain members who have been working for several years to see a ban on a pesticide that harms bees and other insects. DEFRA Secretary of State Gove announced the UK would vote in the EU for a ban on its use.
The government has rejected recommendations from a committee of MPs on the best way to reduce food waste. Sustain member Feedback, who campaign to tackle food waste, are now launching a petition calling on Michael Gove to support EU targets.
The Huffington Post is today reporting that Ministers do not know how how much it will cost the UK to replace the EU’s regulatory functions if we leave the EU with no deal. Parliamentary Answers given to Labour MP Mary Creagh appear to show that the staff, investment and buildings needed for the UK to maintain standards in vital areas like food safety have not been calculated.
Yesterday in Parliament, Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, reiterated his opinion that chlorine-washed chicken is safe to eat and that he had no objection to it being sold to the British public. Yet US food standards also raise questions about hormone-reared beef and dairy, food irradiation and Salmonella in eggs.
The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, last week launched the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA) warning that “we have incentivised and encouraged a type of farming in this country which has damaged soil.”
Sustain welcomes a new government initiative which helps small scale farmers and food producers supply to schools, hospitals and the forces.
Our food standards and food industry look set to face a ‘perfect storm’ from rising food prices, regulatory uncertainties, greatly diminished capacity of food inspectors and standards bodies, and likely challenges from international trade deals with countries working to lower food standards than our own. This critical analysis is published by the Sustain food and farming alliance, as their submission to the EFRA enquiry into trade in food.
Conservative MPs have joined forced with the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) calling for the environment to be given a higher profile at the heart of policy making. “Thinking differently about our environment: a holistic approach to policy” is a collection of essays by MPs arguing that we can reap previously unrecognised benefits by embedding the environment in all areas of public policy. They also emphasise the benefits of harnessing horticulture and using the environment to improve health outcomes - a key consideration for Sustain and its members.
An article co-authored by Defra's Chief Scientific Officer argues that better regulation is needed to control how pesticides are used and affect the environment at a landscape scale.
The Real Bread Campaign is taking the next step in its call for an Honest Crust Act by asking supporters and friends to sign a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove. Campaign coordinator Chris Young looks at why this protection is needed by Britain’s shoppers and small, independent bakeries.
From today (12 September) the Real Bread Campaign is asking everyone who cares about bread in Britain to sign a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, calling for an Honest Crust Act.
In the UK, food products that carry 'protected food names' are on average sold at almost twice the price of comparable food, worth around £1bn to the UK economy. But so far, Defra has not stepped up to the challenge of championing protected food names in EU negotiations and the Repeal Bill, argues Gerry Danby of Artisan Food Law.
What should Labour fight for in the post Brexit farm policy era? We will be exploring this at an event on 24th September alongside SERA, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and The Land Workers' Alliance.
Sustain's Chief Executive Kath Dalmeny reports on a meeting with Michael Gove, the opportunities this presents, and her sense that the time has come for Sustain and alliance members to step ever more confidently onto the national stage.
As the Queen's speech confirmed, we are to get a new Agriculture Act after we leave the EU and its Common Agriculture Policy, We had a quick rummage into the past to see what the last one said and it was rather interesting.
The Government review of the work of the Groceries Code Adjudicator was published today and suggests that the Adjudicator is working well and has any on-going problems in hand. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Margot James MP, must now take the next step and extend its remit to support farmers.
The UK Government must adopt high regulatory standards for farm antibiotics when the UK leaves the EU, The Repeal Bill, published on 13th June 2017, is just the start.
Vicki Hird, Sustain’s Farm Campaign Coordinator features in the BBC Panorama programme to be broadcast today (10 July 2017) talking on the likely impact on our food and farming of a new trade deal with the United States. [Update: the programme can now be viewed on Iplayer - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08y7nm6/panorama-britains-food-farming-the-brexit-effect ]
Sustain is campaigning for a Better Food Britain. This will seek to achieve the best possible outcomes for better food, farming and fishing as the UK leaves the European Union. The alliance met on 27 June 2017 to identify priorities for action in pursuit of the common goal of a Better Food Britain.
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.
Pull down the pillars of the EU farm policy and create a strong future for UK farmers after Brexit, major alliance of food and farming groups tells next Government
Sustain comments on the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee report published today. 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.
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.
Sustain launched today a new action for the public to tell their MP they don’t want Bad Food Britain.
The issue of who gets the budget and controls farm policy is proving highly contentious with the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, suggesting in a recent interview (££) that Holyrood may be denied the power to decide their own support regime for farmers, despite agriculture being wholly devolved.
Brexit has put the spotlight on migrant workers in the food chain and particularly on farm work. But serious problems with labour standards and inequalities in the food chain were evident well before June 2016.
If you had £200 to spend on food each year what would you spend it on? That is roughly how much each family of four spends on current subsidies for farmers and the food sector. Has anyone asked taxpayers how they want that money spent?
Sustain’s Brexit-themed Annual Gathering took place on 17 January, the day that PM Theresa May gave her long-awaited speech on the principles on which the UK will negotiate our departure from the EU and the European Single Market. Sustain's coordinator Kath Dalmeny looks forward to our alliance priorities for 2017.
Read our response to the publication of the Environmental Audit Committee report on The Future of the natural Environment after the EU Referendum.
What’s up with farm incomes? New data shows total income for UK farming dropped 24% in 2014/5. With a farm sector already apprehensively anticipating Article 50 (triggering Brexit) and the major changes to food trade ahead, rethinking farm policy so that it is fit for purpose has to start now. To clarify things first, it may be worth re-examining some of the post-truth farm myths that were floating around in the referendum campaigns which may have swayed farmers and others in their vote:
On 6 December 2016 MPs debated the issue of household food insecurity measurement in the UK, referencing the work of the Food Foundation and Sustain.
Funding commitments provide short-term reassurance for farmers, but for the longer term uncertainty remains
Food policy is spread over various departments and policy areas, so there are several noteworthy appointments in the government formed by PM Theresa May after the EU referendum
Sustain members welcomed the Government's decision to uphold an EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, despite a second plea for an emergency exemption from the National Farmers Union
The Real Bread Campaign has finished its consulation of supporters on what to do next on loaf labelling and marketing honesty and transparency.
After years of diligent campaigning, the Soil Association has commended a ground-breaking report from the all-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which recognises the importance of soil for environmental health.
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Projects & campaigns
Better Hospital Food
Children's Health Fund
Children's Food Campaign
Food and Farming Policy
Food co-ops toolkit
Good Food For London
London Food Link
Planning Food Cities
Real Bread Campaign
Roots to work
Save Our Antibiotics
Sugar Smart UK
Sustainable Fish Cities
Sustainable Food Cities
The Big Dig
Urban Food Fortnight