The Agricultural Act
Why is this a turning point for UK agriculture?
As the UK begins its withdrawal from the European Union, the government has some huge decisions to make. Many of the laws that apply in the UK – from employment rights to food safety laws – have been made in Brussels for the past 44 years.
In order to avoid a ‘legislative black hole’ on the day we leave the EU, the government is proposing a ‘Great Repeal Bill’, which will transfer thousands of pieces of current EU law onto the UK statute books.
In addition to the Great Repeal Bill, the government will introduce brand new legislation in areas such as immigration, nuclear safeguards and – crucially – agriculture.
The chance of a lifetime?
The last Agriculture Act was passed in 1947 by Clement Attlee’s post-war government. It aimed to provide price stability, lower food imports and increase agricultural productivity.
Since we joined the EU in 1973, much of our farming policy has been written in Brussels.
Whatever our views on leaving the EU, the Agriculture Act will be the first opportunity in 70 years to rethink the aims and basic building blocks of agricultural policy.
Why is the Agriculture Act so important?
We vote with our forks three times a day, but our options are heavily shaped by agricultural policies. The new Agriculture Act will be a chance to transform the relationship we have with our food and with the countryside.
It will affect some of the biggest challenges that we face; challenges such as climate change, public health, soil protection, wildlife protection and farm animal welfare.
The new Agriculture Act needs game-changing ideas
We have set out 6 game changing ideas that should be included in a new agricultural policy. This is a huge opportunity to reform the way we eat and farm, with potentially far-reaching benefits for the environment, society and the economy. We will continue to campaign to ensure that the new Agriculture Act will transform UK food and farming for the better.
How can I take action?
Want to make this change happen? Join the Soil Association today to shape a UK food and farming system fit for our future.
If you’d like to know more of our policy priorities, or you would like to stay up to date with other food and farming policy, you can visit our Food and Farming Policy Hub.