This post is by Green Alliance associate Julie Hill.
Peers are moving to relax the EU-derived regulatory regime for gene editing, a sub-set of genetic modification (GM) techniques aimed at enhancing crops. This is being done via an amendment to the Agriculture Bill, so the secretary of state for the environment can alter the legislation without going back to parliament. It is a short cut that threatens to rekindle a heated and unhelpfully polarised debate. Read more
With parliament apparently unable to agree how to leave the EU, a second referendum and a decision to stay in the EU becomes a serious possibility. Most environmentalists I know were strongly pro-remain in 2016. They know how important the EU has been in raising environmental standards and pushing action on climate change. Read more
UK farming is in crisis. Forty per cent of farms make no profit. Farm debt is soaring. Farmers are taking home an ever decreasing share of what we spend on food and, over the long term, food prices have been dropping.
Many farmers are stuck in a cycle of working the land ever harder just to break even. This is taking a heavy toll on the asset that farming relies on most of all – nature – as regular reports from the State of Nature partnership and the Natural Capital Committee make clear.
This post is by Marcus Gilleard, senior external affairs adviser, National Trust. It is a version of an article first published on National Trust’s NT Places blog.
Nearly a year ago, the National Trust’s Director-General Helen Ghosh set out the basic principles on which we believed a post-Brexit system of support for UK farming should be developed. Since then, we’ve fleshed out our thinking and joined forces with other charities, as part of Greener UK, to help the UK and devolved governments develop their proposals. A core focus of our work remains the concept that public money should pay for the delivery of public goods. Read more
This post is by the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, second church estates commissioner and former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.
The UK agriculture sector has always sought to provide good quality food at a reasonable price, which is the very purpose of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, we cannot ignore that it has come at a price to many growers and that agriculture is under pressure. Read more
This post is by Tom Lancaster, senior land use policy officer at RSPB.
If you do a Google search for ‘agriculture at a crossroads’ you’ll see that it’s a well used term. But when considering the implications of Brexit for farming and land use, it feels more relevant now than ever before.
Leaving the European Union will be one of the most defining events for farming and the environment in living memory. Whilst there are many potential pitfalls, the UK’s exit from the EU also presents an opportunity to rethink how the country can secure more sustainable farming and land use for people and the environment in the years and decades ahead.
1. The EU is also an environment union
The EU was established for economic reasons but has evolved into an environment union. Threats like air pollution, climate change and habitat loss mean the UK and its neighbours have used the EU to agree over 100 new laws to protect people and the environment. These cover everything from reducing the risk of industrial chemical accidents to protecting rare birds. The EU now has the biggest programme of environmental legislation in the world. Read more
This post is by Miles King, senior ecologist at Footprint Ecology, and a regular blogger about nature and the environment.
If there was any doubt before, the local and euro election results have confirmed that the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU now hangs in the balance. Euroscepticism has shown its face.
From its inception, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been central to the EU. Its original purpose was to ensure that the food shortages which haunted post war Europe would never happen again. But, from rational beginnings, a monster was born. Read more