Farmers are independent, self-reliant people who have to plan their operations months ahead. They fully accept that food production and stewarding of the countryside have profound impacts on all citizens so these activities are subject to much regulation. That said, it is the job of government to manage this regulation to aid rather than impede rural business.
The CLA represents nearly 800 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Kent. Allan Buckwell, Chairman of Kent CLA says his top five new year resolutions for Government are all Brexit related and would address some of the uncertainties this process has created for rural businesses.
- Clarity for seasonal and casual workers coming to Kent to work in 2018.
- Plan and start implementing now the infrastructure for the additional customs controls at Dover and Calais to avoid disruption for Kent businesses in 2019.
- Farmers must have clarification on the prospective trading conditions and domestic support system during the first half of 2018 to avoid cliff-edge chaos in Spring 2019.
- Stop changing and reorganising environmental and forestry grant schemes every few years. No system can be perfect and land management, especially environmental land management, demands continuity. So please run these schemes for ten years, with periodic updating.
- Government really must learn to trust stakeholders and conduct and then release official studies of the impacts of Brexit on farming, the food and tourism industries, so that rural businesses can prepare themselves for what lies ahead.
Allan Buckwell adds: “While Brexit is at the forefront for many rural businesses, on a local level, there are other key issues where local and national Government could make a significant difference. These include better broadband and mobile coverage, a planning system which is more supportive of diversification and small rural housing development and more effective deterrents to stop fly-tipping which blights our countryside.”