Members of the House of Lords discussed the future of environmental law after Brexit at the end of last week.
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer said: “Fruit and vegetables were the poor relations under Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] support. In a post-CAP world, horticulture needs to get a much better deal for the benefit of our population’s health.”
But concerns were raised about Defra’s ability to take over from European institutions after Brexit because of heavy budget cuts in recent years.
Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrat spokesman for rural affairs, said Defra’s agencies had been ‘severely depleted’ and Baroness Jones of Whitchurch claimed there was a ‘real danger environmental issues will be marginalised’ as Defra has only transferred eight staff to the Brexit department.
Funding for science was also seen to be under threat, with Lord Hunt of Chesterton saying leading scientists are receiving ‘very juicy proposals’ to carry out research at universities in other parts of Europe.
Lord Gardiner, Minister for rural affairs, promised Defra would continue to engage with industry as the Government plans for Brexit.