Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment post-Brexit

Now the Conservative leadership contest is over and we have a new Prime Minister leading a new Government, the hard work starts delivering Brexit as voted for by 17.4 million people.

One policy area most affected will be agriculture, fisheries and the environment.  Brexit gives us a fantastic opportunity to design our own policy specifically tailored to our own landscape and our rural economy.

I urge all organisations interested in our countryside to work on designing this new policy.  The work has already begun. This month I met The National Farmers Union who launched a post-Brexit briefing to devise a new farming policy. I was pleased to see the Countryside and Land Association begin to publish a series of briefings mapping out how the UK has an opportunity to establish a world leading food, farming and environmental policy outside of the EU.  I am also pleased the Tenant Farmers Association and the British Veterinary Association are similarly beginning to research and publish documents after the referendum result.

This week in Westminster I met three constituents, leaders of the Shropshire Federation of Young Farmers.  They were keen to discuss the result and I emphasised the need for their involvement in developing new policy.  Brexit will prove to be a boon for farming and our environment; they will benefit from their input.

When I was Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs I set out four key priorities. These were to grow the rural economy, improve the environment, and safeguard both plant and animal health. It was always my desire to improve, rather than just protect, the environment, while at the same time growing the economy. Rural economic growth is vital for this country as the environment and the economy are inextricably linked. Environmentalism works best at a local level; people care most for their surroundings when they belong to them and when they have a stake in their future.

The UK can now take its seat on world bodies which determine global regulation. We must ensure that regulations are interpreted so as to suit the needs of the local environment. We can now retake control of our borders and implement measures to control the spread of pests and disease, in addition to strengthening our biosecurity and take the urgent action required against the risks of invasive species. I look forward to the UK continuing to lead in combating global wildlife crime.

There is a new team at DEFRA.  This week I met the new Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom to discuss ideas. I would encourage all constituents to write to me so that I may pass their recommendations on.