Most of us don’t have to think too much about the food we eat, beyond “what on earth am I going to cook this evening?” We assume there will be food we want at an affordable price, and that, if it is on the shelf, it is safe to eat and has been produced to acceptable environmental and welfare standards. But the new trade relationships we negotiate after Brexit could present significant risks to the UK’s food system which could put an end to this confidence. Read more
Category Archives: Natural environment
This post is by Chris Clark of Nethergill Farm. It is the second in a short series about the options for the future of upland hill farming in the UK.
In my previous blog I outlined the economic challenges faced by hill farmers today and suggested ways that they can take back control of their businesses and become profitable in a post-Brexit world. Here, I outline how, at Nethergill Farm, we came to realise we had to fundamentally change our business model to survive.
This article is by Kirk Hamilton, Cameron Hepburn, Alexander Teytelboym, Frank Sperling and Francois Cohen, the authors of Wealth of Nature, published by the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, in partnership with Green Economy Coalition.
George Monbiot doesn’t have a reputation for pulling his punches, and his recent Guardian column is a case in point. In it, he takes aim at the idea of ‘natural capital’: the idea that, by better understanding the economic value of nature, we might better protect it. Condemning such attempts as “morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, and most of all counter-productive”, George argues that economic approaches to natural protection can only lead to one thing: the wholesale destruction of nature for profit.
This article was originally published by the Campaigns for National Parks, and was written by David Corrie-Close, a Lake District farmer at the Horned Beef company.
When I was asked to blog about my farm in the Lake District National Park and how I balance the needs of the farm with the needs of the natural environment, I laughed. My reply, and the subject of this blog, is that the natural environment provides the opportunity for farming. We need to relearn the harmony in which the two chime together.
Michael Gove was in pugnacious form in his address to last week’s annual Water UK City Conference. Pulling no punches, his subjects included water company abuse of monopoly power, the use of offshore companies and complex financial engineering, and the privileging of shareholders at the expense of the UK’s billpayers, taxpayers and the environment. It would be no surprise if, in the aftermath, a number of bruised industry executives were tempted to beat a retreat to their Cayman Island offices so criticised by Gove. Read more
This post is by Chris Clark of Nethergill Farm. It is the first in a short series about the options for the future of upland hill farming in the UK.
With the increased uncertainty regarding the viability of hill farms, the time is now ripe for farmers to think radically about hill farm management and consider new alternatives in a way that has not been possible since the last war. The justification for the old hill farming world is going or maybe has already gone. Read more
Tomorrow, Theresa May will deliver a major speech on the environment, it will be the first keynote environment speech delivered by a British prime minister since Tony Blair did so in 2000. David Cameron might have hugged huskies in the Arctic but, in practice, the environment as a whole was not a top priority for him (although he did address the UN on climate and gave a small speech on energy efficiency). Blair also delivered a major speech specifically on climate in 2004.
This post is by Tom Lancaster, senior policy officer at the RSPB, and Marcus Gilleard, senior policy programme manager at the National Trust.
For a couple of policy wonks on the Brexit front line, perspective can be hard to come by at times. So we’ve taken a few days to digest Michael Gove’s speech at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference and assess where it leaves us in our quest for a more sustainable farming and land management system.
New Year articles and blogs often predict what is going to happen in the year ahead. But after the political upsets of the past couple years, it seems more appropriate to pose questions than predict outcomes. So here are some of the important questions that need addressing this year, starting, inevitably, with Brexit.
Between 1990 and 2005 I was heavily embedded in the genetic modification (GM) debate, as a member of one of the key regulatory committees for ten years, and then as deputy chair of the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC). AEBC recommended a public debate on GM crops, which reached 37,000 people through a variety of routes and excited a good deal of press attention. The result? Most people are uneasy, most scientists are not, and the economists thought there was little of consequence either way for the UK at that time. The effect on policy? Almost none.