Northern Ireland

Brexit: Farm leaders issue warning over future trading with Europe

Meurig Raymond NFU president; Barclay Bell UFU president; Stephen James NFU Cymru; Andrew McCormick NFU Scotland Image copyright UFU
Image caption The farm leaders meeting in Newcastle, County Down, from left to right - Meurig Raymond NFU president; Barclay Bell UFU president; Stephen James NFU Cymru; Andrew McCormick NFU Scotland

Farm leaders have said government plans to bring EU law onto the UK statute books must not jeopardise future trading arrangements with Europe.

But they said the opportunity to review many of the regulations that govern farming should not be lost.

The leaders of the UK's farming unions have been meeting in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, they said the job of transposing existing EU laws is one of the "biggest legislative challenges" ever faced.

The government has announced plans to bring EU laws into domestic legislation at the point of exit.

The details are in a white paper published on Thursday for a proposed Great Repeal Bill.

Burdened

The UK government will then have the power to amend the legislation.

Ulster Farmer's Union president Barclay Bell said farmers wanted an "efficient and streamlined" regulatory system through a future agriculture bill.

Image caption Farmers have said they recognise the need for continuity and stability to provide businesses with certainty

He said "too often" farmers had been burdened by rules that stifled the ability to farm "for no discernible reason".

He said the farm unions recognised the value of good regulation which could promote productivity while protecting human health and the environment.

"But bad regulation often achieves none of these," he said.

Image caption Mr Bell said there were a "huge number" of EU regulations governing the day-to-day running of UK farms

Farmers have said they recognise the need for continuity and stability to provide businesses with certainty and to keep standards aligned as a new trading arrangement with Europe is hammered out.

Mr Bell said there were a "huge number" of EU regulations governing the day-to-day running of UK farms.

The white paper says the government will want to set a UK-wide legislative framework for things like farming.

But devolved ministers will also have some powers to amend legislation for which they have responsibility.

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