As we approach the end of the transition period, DEFRA’s primary focus will be on putting in place all the necessary legislation for January, working with industry to ensure that we are ready for change, and putting in place the necessary capacity to enable us to deliver a smooth transition to becoming an independent country.
Seventy-nine per cent. of the climate citizens’ assembly agreed that economic recovery after covid must be designed to help to drive net zero, including through greater reliance on local food production and healthier diets. Will the Secretary of State commit his Department to review those findings and act on them?
The Government recognise that sugar beet growers face yield losses this year because of the difficulties in controlling aphids. We support the restrictions on neonicotinoids to protect pollinators, but we have always been clear that we remain open to applications for emergency authorisations under the current rules.
We are always open to recommendations, suggestions and proposals from people in all walks of life, whether they are on any type of formal committee or not. The point I was making was that we have our own national food strategy, which is itself running a large engagement process to engage people in many of these ideas. We will of course consider those ideas as we put together future policy.
I am more than happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss these issues. But since 2010, the Government have invested £181 million in flood defences in Lancashire to better protect about 37,000 homes, and over the next two years the Government plan to invest a further £21.6 million to support inland fluvial and coastal defence schemes, and better protect nearly 5,000 homes.
We work closely with FareShare, as we always have. As the hon. Gentleman points out, we did make available some additional funding to help it to support the financially vulnerable during this pandemic. Obviously, as we go into winter we keep all these matters under review.
My hon. Friend raises an important point. In our response to the Godfrey review, we set out our approach to dealing with bovine tuberculosis in the next five years. In response to the specific question, we look at epidemiological assessments in individual areas to see where particular strains are present in both badgers and cattle, and that drives the decisions about where culling is necessary.
As the Minister said earlier, we have a consultation out at the moment, and people will no doubt respond to it. But the evidence we have is that actually many of these countries do have laws in place and the issue is a failure to enforce those laws, and that is why we have consulted on that basis.
I fundamentally disagree with the point made by the hon. Gentleman. It was indeed against the interests of the fishing industry, right across the UK, to join the European Union and the common fisheries policy, which has meant that we have access to only half the fish in our own waters. Leaving the EU means that we can rectify that and get a fair deal for fishermen in every part of the UK, which is why the Scottish industry strongly supports the approach of the British Government.
Following the outbreak of covid among staff of Banham Poultry, in my constituency, more than three weeks ago, the company has had to shut down its plants, and slaughter or sell millions of pounds-worth of its chickens to competitors for pennies, without the compensation it would normally receive for culling in relation to animal health, incurring losses of about £2 million a week. The two family shareholders have made it clear that that is unsustainable without any signal of Government support or progress towards reopening. Given that the company received no help earlier in the year through covid interruption schemes or furloughing, because it was rightly deemed a strategic food business, and has had no compensation for culling, can my right hon. Friend give some signal today, before the company’s emergency general meeting tomorrow, that the talks with Government in the past fortnight will lead to some financial support, to avoid the loss of an historic business and local economic devastation?
I thank my hon. Friend for that question. I had a meeting with my officials yesterday to discuss the case. We understand the difficulties that Banham Poultry is facing, and I know that our officials are in constant dialogue with the company, as are officials in other Departments, including Public Health England and the Treasury.
The WWF report is a wake-up call for everybody around the world. At the heart of every piece of policy in DEFRA is the intention to build back nature, including through our agriculture policy, where we are encouraging sustainable agriculture; through the new targets and governance framework in the Environment Bill; through our approach to sustainable fisheries; and through our work on due diligence in the supply chain. This is a crucial time, and the UK is a world leader here. We have COP26 and the convention on biodiversity, which we will be involved with next year, and we will be championing the environment in all those international forums.