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I thought I would avoid another article on Brexit and write this week about a topic that I have recently received a number of emails on – the environment and agricultural policy after we leave the EU
The food and farming industry generates £112 billion a year – Wiltshire is a key county towards this. I am pleased that the Government will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament in 2022 and this is something that I pushed for – representing the views of those working in the local agricultural economy. Once we have the freedom to move away from the Common Agricultural Policy, the proposal is for an ‘agricultural transition’ period in England, allowing farmers to prepare for a new system.
Leaving the EU creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. We are bringing in innovative new ideas to support investment in healthy, sustainable British food production and do much better for farming, the environment and animal welfare. The Government proposes to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods; principally environmental enhancement. I back this plan 100%.
Leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to use public money to reward environmentally responsible land use, as well as maintaining and enhancing high standards of animal welfare. I will continue to work to ensure that we harness this opportunity and ensure that our best days as a food and farming nation lie ahead of us. We must ensure that animal welfare, protection of the environment and food safety are very much at the heart of the bill. I have consistently campaigned to promote animal welfare and improved food labelling – live exports and the labelling of meat are issues that I think are particularly important and am pushing for change in.
We are unable to ban live exports or make slaughter information labelling mandatory whilst we are in the EU, so I am pleased that leaving the EU will give us a unique chance to change this and strengthen our animal welfare protection.
I look forward to the passing of the Agricultural bill because it is crucial that we not only safeguard, but also grow the jobs in this sector, whilst also ensuring our policies protect the environment for future generations.