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Sustain response to food and farming Brexit 'no deal' technical notices released today

Sustain makes the following comment on the notices on How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal released by the government today:


Vicki Hird, sustainable farming coordinator for the Sustain alliance said:

“The Government has now confirmed that a ‘no deal’ Brexit will be complex and bureaucratic for UK businesses, including farmers and food companies importing or exporting from the EU. They are advising today that British businesses should consider “engaging a customs broker or acquiring the appropriate software and authorisations from HMRC”, which will come “at a cost”. [reference 1] 

People’s safety, food access and choices are directly affected by the decisions made all along the food supply chain, as are considerations such as supply chain fairness, working conditions, licensing of technologies and animal welfare. If we end up with a 'no deal', the government must prioritise action to maintain standards and protect the most vulnerable sectors and people  who could be affected by the disruption.

There are also major regulatory and enforcement gaps risking environmental protection or safety outcomes for which there is no legislative safety net so far.

Given the drive to showcase and export more ‘great British food’ it seems incredibly laissez faire that we have to potentially wait till the end of 2019 for our eight Organic sector bodies to be registered by the EU. [reference 2] And we will add to the risk of losing EU and other trusted markets, if we diverge from the current arrangements for organic standards and the use and licensing of chemicals and other technologies in food and farming like gene technologies and pesticides. We risk losing farmers, jobs and revenue though this lost market.”

Equally no one would wish the current jumble of uncertainties on farmers already subject to the vagaries of weather, drought and commodity prices.  Our farmers need to know what the support framework [references 2,3], and the regulatory and trading conditions are beyond 2020 so they can plan and invest - with a ‘no deal’ Brexit the EU rules and institutions underpinning much of this could fall away fast. 

The vague guarantees on rural development and agri-environment funding to 2020 will do little to allay fears of a harmful Agriculture Bill outcome. The promises to guarantee farm support under the same set of EU ‘rules’ (“conform to the same standards as they do currently”) will be a mixed blessing for farmers wanting better regulations but absolutely reliant on a lucrative, steady EU market. A no deal is the worst outcome for farmers.”

Sustain's chief executive Kath Dalmeny said: 

"The Government's 'no deal' technical papers do little to soften our conclusion that a 'no deal' Brexit would be an unacceptable and damaging outcome for British farmers, food businesses, consumers and the environment. The technical notices issued today by Government cover technical and bureaucratic issues of labelling, certification, permissions and business registration. They do not talk about loss of a £13 billion EU export market for British food; talk little about the impact of high tariffs that would be levied on food and farming imports and exports; nor about labour shortages; nor about the jobs and businesses already being lost."


Contact for comment or interviews - Vicki Hird 07903478249 or Kath Dalmeny:

Read this blog from Sustain chief executive Kath Dalmeny: A ‘no deal’ Brexit will indeed mean shortages – mainly of food and farming jobs, workers, transport and common sense








Published 23 Aug 2018

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