After a fairly lengthy and gruelling seven days of debate, during the Committee Stage of the Agriculture Bill in the House of Lords, both Houses of Parliament broke for the summer recess at the end of July. We continued to work closely with a number of supportive Peers on our key asks for the Bill and are chomping at the bit now that Parliament has returned, to see this Bill deliver for nature-friendly farmers!
Committee Stage in the House of Lords was a chance for Peers to speak in support of their amendments, and those of colleagues, raising important issues of concern and requesting clarifications from the government. We were pleased to see so many Peers speaking in support of nature-friendly farming, including the Earl of Caithness who tabled an amendment specifically in support of our work! You can catch up with the debate via Hansard here.
Many of you will have also noted the creation of a Trade and Agriculture Commission recently, designed to ‘advise the government to ensure new trade policies secure export opportunities for UK farmers and uphold high standards.’ Whilst the NFFN is supportive of steps to promote and protect our domestic high-standards, we are concerned about the nature of this commission – both that it is time limited and that its recommendations would be advisory only, amongst other weaknesses.
The NFFN will continue to press for parliamentarians to enshrine high environmental and welfare trade standards in law – the only way to properly protect them – but we would also ask that any associated bodies, such as this commission, also have sufficient powers and responsibilities to make and enact change. We continue to call for strong environmental standards and certainty for long-term funding, so that farmers are properly supported and rewarded for their hard work.
Now that Parliament has returned, we will be calling on Peers to back amendments aimed at improving the Agriculture Bill and keep an eye out for our next campaigns – which will give you the chance to share your voice with your elected representatives, when this Bill returns to the House of Commons later this month.
As always, if you are speaking with your local representatives or have a fantastic case study to share, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org as we’d love to hear from you!