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Rural groups highlight scope for new opportunities after Brexit

The UK vote to leave the European Union should reduce red tape and present new markets but fresh arrangements need to be in place urgently, say countryside groups.


Rural communities should now have a greater say in the decisions that affect them, says the CLA

Rural businesses must work together to stay profitable and create opportunity as the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), say country groups.

Around 52 per cent of voters opted to leave the EU in last Thursday’s referendum, prompting David Cameron to announce he will step down as Prime Minister before October.

Rural groups have now said no time should be wasted to ensure the Government constructs new arrangements to benefit the industry.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “BASC will carry out the hard work that is needed to ensure that the legal framework in which we operate is fit for purpose and benefits shooting and the countryside.”

Commenting on Mr Cameron’s resignation, Mr Glenser added: “David Cameron has been a good friend of shooting and the countryside.

“As Prime Minister he has intervened on several occasions to ensure that the Government acted to benefit shooting sports.”

CLA president Ross Murray signalled his confidence in the ability of farmers and rural businesses to create opportunities outside the EU, He commented: “There will be a significant amount of change in the weeks, months and years ahead. This will bring challenges but also significant opportunities.

“Millions of people have voted for a new and different future for the UK. They have seen the opportunity to exploit new global markets, to reduce the red tape that stifles their ability to run their farm or business and to have a greater say in decisions that affect them and their rural communities.

“The CLA will be working to ensure that existing and future governments turn these desires into a reality.”

Leading by example for the environment

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) said the UK should grasp this “fantastic opportunity” and lead by example for conservation and farming.

A spokesman said: “The UK has a proud tradition of leading by example. Today it has the chance to do just this for farming and the environment.

“Few are expecting the wholesale removal of existing UK legislation passed in support of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives but the biggest threat to the farmed environment could now come from the wish of all parties to phase out the farm Basic Payment Scheme.

“The impact on smaller farms and those farming in more marginal areas could be profound. The GWCT urges the Government to design and fund agri-environment schemes that are more flexible and free from the red tape that came from Europe.”

Voice of the countryside heard in Brexit talks

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Meurig Raymond added: “The vote to leave the EU will inevitably lead to a period of uncertainty in a number of areas that are of vital importance to Britain’s farmers.

“The NFU will engage fully and constructively with the British Government to construct new arrangements. This needs to happen as soon as possible.

“Our members will rightly want to know the impact on their businesses as a matter of urgency. We understand that the negotiations will take some time to deliver but it is vital that there is early commitment by the Government to ensure British farming is not disadvantaged.”

Tim Bonner, CEO of the Countryside Alliance, said: “We will be making sure that the voice of the countryside is heard.”