Three politically charged words sum up the problem of trying to assess whether the draft Agriculture Bill published last week will work: budget, duties and trade. Will there be a budget to do what it needs to deliver? Will any of the powers in the Bill mean anything if they do not need to be taken up? And how does any of this matter if we end up with a poor or ‘no deal’ with the EU and deals with other counties that undermine standards? All these are huge unknowns yet they may have deep impacts on whether the Bill delivers a better farming future. With those fundamental uncertainties in mind, and the fact that the Bill has its second reading on 10 October, the following are ten key questions about the Bill and our attempts to answer them:*
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ]
Read our response to the publication of the Environmental Audit Committee report on The Future of the natural Environment after the EU Referendum.
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.
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
Soil is being degraded so fast that some of Britain's most productive arable land could become unprofitable within a generation, a Select Committee warns
The Government have responded to a report by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs committee on the crisis in dairy prices. The committee recommended an extension of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to incorporate suppliers throughout the supply chain - this could help ensure a more sustainable dairy supply chain in the future. However the Government said they could not act until the statutory review of the GCA in 2016 and argued that they favoured an industry-led solution.
Campaign for Better Hospital Food is nominated for a BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Award in the Best Initiative in British Food category.
In an article for the Guardian, Prue Leith CBE calls the government's hospital food proposals "hopelessly weak". She calls on it to carry out radical changes to the way that food is served and sold in hospitals in England. This includes investing in more kitchens and setting more ambitious food standards in law. Take action at Sustain's Campaign for Better Hospital Food
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