On Monday 10th September, the Government announced a new grant scheme to reward landowners for creating woodland areas. The scheme provides up to £6,800 per hectare and funding will now be available year round as part of the drive to encourage tree planting.
On Tuesday 11th September the House of Lords Regenerating Seaside Towns Committee heard evidence from representatives of the tourism and hospitality industries. Committee members quizzed the witnesses on what is being done nationally to support tourism around coastal areas and the challenges and benefits to the economy. Also on Tuesday, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee wrote to the Agriculture Minister, George Eustice, to ask why over half of payments made to the European Agricultural Support Scheme are late.
On Wednesday 12th the Government set out the new Agriculture Bill, designed to replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after Brexit. There will be a seven year transition period to phase out the CAP’s old system of payments and subsidies beginning in 2021.
Thursday saw the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launch a call for submissions to its inquiry around the new Agriculture Bill. The Committee plans to scrutinise the bill and will ‘consider what practical implications it will have for British farming sectors.’ Evidence can be submitted here until 8 October.
Also on Thursday, the Lords Economic Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into funding challenges for social care in England. It will assess the suitability of different funding models and make recommendations on future approaches to social care, including how to share the cost burden. Evidence can be submitted here until 9 October. In addition, the National Audit Office published a progress report on Defra’s progress ahead of Brexit, warning that the department is not prepared for what it will means for exports of animals and animal products from the UK
Last week marked the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) campaign #BackBritishFarming in parliament. To show their support, MPs wore pins of sheaves of wheat on their lapels and a specially designed menu was served in parliamentary canteens. The campaign was a drive to protect farmers’ rights and food standards post-Brexit.
Parliament is in recess until 9 October to make time for party conferences.
This week will see the Liberal Democrats meet in Brighton, with party leader Sir Vince Cable speaking on Tuesday.
There are several events on Monday 17th which may be of interest. The Rural Reception will be held from 13:00 to 14:00 in the Osborne Room of the Brighton Hilton Metropole. Baroness Cathy Bakewell, the Lords Spokesperson on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be attending.
At the same time, Greener UK is to host a panel discussion: ‘How can we deliver an ambitious environment act?’ The event will be at the Hotel du Vin, to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, from 18:15 to 19:15, the National Farmers’ Union and the Food and Drink Foundation are hosting a discussion: ‘What should the UK’s future food policy look like?’ in the Sandringham Room of the Brighton Hilton Metropole. Stuart Roberts, VP of the NFU and Ian Wright, CBE, the CEO of the FDF are confirmed speakers. Tim Farron, MP has also been invited.
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