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Royal Welsh Show: Anger mounts towards Defra's Brexit strategy

Anger is mounting among Welsh farm unions and Ministers towards Defra’s approach to Brexit.

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Glyn Roberts
Glyn Roberts
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Royal Welsh Show: Anger mounts towards Defra's Brexit strategy

The rhetoric and vitriol was ramped up at the Royal Welsh Show just days after Defra Secretary Michael Gove’s ’green Brexit’ speech.

 

Glyn Roberts, Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) president, accused Mr Gove of ignoring the human cost of Brexit, while NFU Cymru president Stephen James blasted the focus on environmentalism.

 

Lesley Griffths, Wales’ Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, echoed the thoughts of her Scottish counterparts and accused the Westminster Government of trying to strip Wales of its devolved powers.

 

Speaking on the Sunday before the show, Mr Roberts said: "Michael Gove’s speech spoke about the importance of nature and conservation but I could not see anything in that speech about conservaiton of people. Without people there is no countryside.

 

"We have to fight for people to be a key part of agriculture and rural Wales."

 

On the Monday of the show, Ministers from Welsh Government met with Mr Gove as they sought to assert their priorities for Welsh agriculture.


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Environment versus farming

Environment versus farming

Mr James said he was concerned that Mr Gove's speech pitched environment against farming, when in fact food production and the landscape had long gone hand in hand.

 

And he also expressed concern about future trade policy.

 

He added: "No deal with our main trading partner [the EU] is not an option for Welsh agriculture, and the implications of moving to World Trade Organisation default position of most favoured nation trading status does not bear thinking about.

 

"What business could cope with a 46 per cent tariff on lamb, a 65 per cent tariff on beef, a 42 per cent tariff on cheese or a 53 per cent tariff on wheat?"

No meetings

No meetings

Mrs Griffiths said until the Royal Welsh, she had not met with Mr Gove.

 

"The [Great Repeal] Bill means less powers and felxibility for Wales. [It could mean] major decisions being taken away and made at a desk in Whitehall."

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