What rural organisations are saying about Brexit

This is what a range of rural organisations having been saying about the vote to leave EU. 

24th June 2016
Mist covered rolling countryside at dawn, Brecon Beacons, Wales - ©Gettyimages/James Burton

AGRICULTURE

 

Meurig Raymond, NFU president thinks the news will lead to a period of “uncertainty” in vital areas of farming.

“The vote to leave the European Union will inevitably lead to a period of uncertainty in a number of areas that are of vital importance to Britain’s farmers.

“The NFU will engage fully and constructively with the British government to construct new arrangements. This needs to happen as soon as possible.

“Our members will rightly want to know the impact on their businesses as a matter of urgency.  We understand that the negotiations will take some time to deliver but it is vital that there is early commitment to ensure British farming is not disadvantaged. It is vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive, it is the bedrock of the food industry – Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.”

 

David Caffall, Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) chief executive thinks that Vote Leave poses huge questions for Britain’s agricultural supply industry

 

"In April, the Board of the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) halted all planning based upon a Referendum ‘Leave’ vote, as the number of unknowns and variables were too complex to even identify, let alone build possible strategies upon.

"The result today is therefore the start of a period of uncertainty which may take months – or even years – to resolve. We will be seeking clarification on what this decision means in terms of market options; regulations and the timetable for the changes that will inevitably occur.

“Today, we begin a new pro-active period. In the first instance, we are fully committed to gain clarity for our Members as scenarios and timescales unfold. Then, as ever, we will lobby to ensure emerging policies and regulations are as practical and pragmatic as possible where it affects the agricultural supply industry."

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s, an international membership organisation, committed to global sustainability, chief policy advisor thinks the vote to leave raises questions for business businesses, professionals and the wider public on environmental protection policy. 

 

“In the lead-up to the referendum, IEMA members were overwhelmingly of the view that being a member of the EU is good for business and good for the environment.  There was a real concern that environment and climate policy risked being watered down if the vote was to leave.  Environment and sustainability professionals will now look to the future with some sense of uncertainty.

“It is therefore essential that the government gives a commitment that, in negotiating the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU, an equivalent or enhanced level of environmental protection and climate policy will be implemented here in the UK. 

In establishing the UK’s future direction, government must develop progressive policies for the UK to transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and sustainable economy which delivers real social value over the long-term.  It must seize the opportunity to accelerate the transformational change needed to meet long-term sustainability challenges and provide a much-needed boost to UK jobs and productivity.”

 

 

RURAL HOUSING

 

Simon Gooderham, director of rural surveyor and estate agent, Cheffins, says predicting the long-term impact is difficult, but that the result could impact on farmland lettings and sales markets

“Currently, it is difficult to predict the long-term effects that the BREXIT will have on agriculture, however in the short-term, it has been suggested by many that there could potentially be an impact on farmland lettings and sales markets, due to the uncertainty around the future of farm subsidies. Across the UK, the total support from CAP in 2014 was just under £3bn, equivalent to 54% of farming, so we need to consider whether a UK government, independent from the EU will ever be able to support farming to the same extent.

“On the flip side, some of us will be bolstered by the UK now having the option to control its own subsidies and to increase the dynamism of British farming, representing itself at the World Trade Organisation and reigniting world trade without the constraints of the EU. Prices will now depend on access to EU markets and trade agreements elsewhere and export costs could increase. Now is the time to have an entrepreneurial approach to farming. The old system will be changing and we will be recommending our clients push into this new era of farming with diversification and finding new ways to supplement their incomes.”

 

RURAL BUSINESSES

 

Ross Murry, president of membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales, CLA believes farmers and rural business will create opportunities outside of the EU.

 

“This is a historic decision and we are entering an unprecedented period for our country and economy. There will be a significant amount of change in the weeks, months and years ahead. This will bring challenges but also significant opportunities.

“Millions of people have voted for a new and different future for the UK. They have seen the opportunity to exploit new global markets, to reduce the red tape that stifles their ability to run their farm or business and to have a greater say in decisions that affect them and their rural communities. The CLA will be working to ensure that existing and future governments deliver on turning these desires into a reality.  

“There are some urgent decisions for Ministers to make. These decisions are necessary to secure the immediate future of the rural economy. We need an early guarantee that, whatever happens with regard to the negotiations on the UK’s exit, the support that is currently provided to UK farmers and the wider economy through the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will continue unbroken and unchanged until at least the end of December 2020.

“As negotiations begin on trade relationships to succeed our position as a full member of the European Union, Ministers must have the needs of farming and other rural businesses at the front of their minds. The ambition must be a barrier and tariff-free relationship. Whatever happens, the UK Government must not allow a poor trade dynamic that leaves UK agriculture at a disadvantage.”

  

 

VETERNIARY

 

Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), thinks the UK’s decision to leave the EU will have a “significant impact” on veterinary regulation, education and animal welfare.

 

"The UK's decision to leave the European Union will have a significant impact on matters of interest to the veterinary profession, particularly in relation to regulation, education, and workforce planning, but also in terms of animal welfare, research, surveillance, and animal movements.

"BVA will work hard to ensure the voice of the veterinary profession is heard during the negotiation and discussions that will now begin, in order to secure the best possible outcomes for our profession and for animal health and welfare in the UK. The Vet Futures report provides an excellent summary of issues we need to consider in those discussions, and the Vet Futures Action Plan, due to be launched at the Vet Futures Summit on 4 July, outlines key initiatives that we need to take forward, albeit with revised timelines while the full impact of Brexit is determined.

"BVA will retain an outward looking and inclusive perspective through our relationships with international partners, including the Federation of Veterinarians for Europe (FVE), Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA) and World Veterinary Association (WVA) to ensure the UK veterinary profession continues to influence and engage on cross border issues such as disease surveillance, veterinary medicines and antimicrobial resistance."

 

WILDLIFE

 

David Nussbaum CEO of WWF-UK thinks the vote to leave the EU brings “risks and uncertainties” for Britain’s wildlife and wild places.
 
“Environmental challenges don’t stop at borders and many require international solutions.  Leaving the European Union brings risks and uncertainties for our wildlife and wild places, but with the right policies the UK could continue to be a global force for the protection of nature. As an immediate step we should retain the environmental protections that have delivered cleaner air and beaches, helped preserve habitats and cut carbon emissions – and build on them to reverse the environmental decline we are experiencing.  
 
“Environmental considerations are integral to the long-term needs of our economy and society.  The Government’s proposed 25 year plans for Food and Farming and for Nature will now be measures of how seriously Ministers are about taking care of our countryside.  Integrating the needs of farmers and consumers with wider environmental priorities would reassure those who worry that nature will be low on the Government’s priority list.”

 

 

Dr Mike Clarke, RSPB's chief executive thinks that the UK must continue to "act internationally, and look to forge comprehensive international agreements for nature conservation and the environment".

"There are millions of people in the UK who love nature – just think about the viewing figures of BBC Springwatch. We need clean air and water, and we want an attractive countryside rich in wildlife.

'It is essential that we do not lose the current, hard won, level of legal protection. Given the current state of nature, we should be looking to improve the implementation of existing legal protection and, where necessary, to increase it.

'It will now be down to the governments in Westminster, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to make this happen.

'As the new constitutional settlement is negotiated over the coming months (and years?), the RSPB will continue to be a voice for nature, raising the importance of environmental issues that has an impact on people, wildlife and the economy. We will provide a constructive challenge to all governments across the UK where necessary, and give credit where it is due; just as we always have done.   

'And, of course, trans-national challenges such as protecting our migrating birds, tackling climate change remain, which is why we shall work internationally, as we have done so for over a hundred years, and will continue to act across Europe with our Birdlife International partners to tackle the many challenges facing nature.

'In short, we shall continue to do whatever nature needs."

 

The Wildlife Trusts said that following the result, the challenges faced by the UK’s wildlife are as "great as they have ever been". 

"The EU has left a legacy of strong legislation and invested in many practical projects. Together, these have reduced the rate of wildlife losses and begun to reverse the fortunes of some of our wildlife.

"But there is growing pressure for deregulation both in the UK and across the rest of Europe. In our new political world there is a very real risk that the pressure for deregulation and reduced environmental standards will grow. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that the benefits for wildlife that we have seen inside the EU are not lost through deregulation or a lack of international cooperation."

 

Are you a rural organisation and want to have your say? Email countryfile@immediate.co.uk 

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