In his campaign to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, Jeremy Hunt proposes to allocate £20 billion for compensation for a no-deal Brexit, including £6 billion for farmers and fishermen. However, one expert claims that such a fund would breach WTO rules whilst the NFU has said that a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for British farming.
Jeremy Hunt has also promised a free vote in Parliament for a repeal of the Hunting Act if there were to be a prospect of a majority for the motion. Once a Tory party manifesto commitment, it was quietly dropped by Theresa May last year. This pledge is slightly surprising because there is no prospect of success in the current House of Commons.
Labour to Regulate Farm Emissions
Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change has said that voluntary measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming are not working and that a future Labour Government will take action. This will include a massive increase in tree planting and a ban on the rotational burning of moorland heather. A paper, Land for the Many, has been written by George Monbiot and others for the Labour Party to develop land use policy. A full review of the paper will appear on this page in due course.
Rewilding threatens Wildflower Meadows
Demands for rewilding threaten wildflower meadows according to the wildlife charity Plantlife. 97% of flower rich meadows have been lost since the 1930s and they now cover less than 1% of the UK’s open country. A hugely important habitat, they require specific management, including grazing, cutting for hay, scrub clearance and occasional soil disturbance. If such management is abandoned in the cause of rewilding, the tiny remnant of much loved landscape will be lost.
Agriculture is the Deadliest Industry
According to statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive, farming is the UK’s deadliest industry despite employing fewer people than many others. 32 people were killed or fatally injured on British farms last year, one fifth of all 147 workplace fatalities. It is widely agreed that these figures are shocking and more must be done to make farms safer places to work.