Sunday, 3 July 2016

Brexit: and the rural economy

It was clear before the referendum that 'most farmers' were for leaving the EU:
Futures Forum: Brexit/Bremain: "The majority of farmers are keen to leave the Union and all the baggage that comes with it."

But 'the rural economy' goes beyond farming - and there were very different opinions 
... expressed before:
Futures Forum: Brexit/Bremain: and the green economy: "Energy and environment ministers, green NGOs and sustainable businesses groups agree that remaining IN the EU is crucial for our transition to a low-carbon future."

... and after:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the environment
Futures Forum: Brexit: and "the future of our marine environment and coastal communities"

The Country Land and Business Association has analysed the choises for the rural economy before the referendum:  
Leave or Remain: The Decisions that Politicians must make to support the Rural Economy

... and its post-referendum analysis reflected the 'larger than average rural 'leave' vote - despite the fact that the UK's rural areas and agriculture receive billions of euros in EU support':
Rural councils seek 'urgent' reassurance on Brexit
Rural businesses 'united' post-Brexit

This anxiety is reflected in pretty much every rural area:
Fears over effect of Brexit on rural areas - Cambrian News

The NFU was very much against Brexit:

What Brexit Could Mean for UK Farmers

By Andrew Amelinckx on July 1, 2016

The National Farmers Union, which represents around 55,000 farmers in England and Wales, was against breaking with the EU from the start. Its president, Meurig Raymond, called the vote’s result a “political car crash,” warning it could lead to increased food prices due to a weakened pound and the UK’s reliance on imports, according to The Independent newspaper. 

The effects upon UK farmers covers a broad swath of issues—including the potential loss of subsidies, markets, and a ready labor pool—and travels across a range of products, from dairy, to arable crops, to livestock. A vital issue is the subsidies, which UK farmers enjoyed under the EU. Without these supports, farmers already near the brink (due to British supermarkets’ artificially low prices for staples, like milk) could go under. According to Mike Thomas, a spokesman for the NFU, the organization wants to ensure the independent UK government will continue to provide similar supports for the agricultural sector.

What Brexit Could Mean for UK Farmers - Modern Farmer

The Countryfile magazine gives an overview of reaction:

What rural organisations are saying about Brexit

This is what a range of rural organisations having been saying about the vote to leave EU.

24th June 2016


Meurig Raymond, NFU president thinks the news will lead to a period of “uncertainty” in vital areas of farming: 
“The vote to leave the European Union will inevitably lead to a period of uncertainty in a number of areas that are of vital importance to Britain’s farmers.

David Caffall, Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) chief executive thinks that Vote Leave poses huge questions for Britain’s agricultural supply industry.


Martin Baxter, IEMA’s, an international membership organisation, committed to global sustainability, chief policy advisor thinks the vote to leave raises questions for business businesses, professionals and the wider public on environmental protection policy:
“In the lead-up to the referendum, IEMA members were overwhelmingly of the view that being a member of the EU is good for business and good for the environment. There was a real concern that environment and climate policy risked being watered down if the vote was to leave. Environment and sustainability professionals will now look to the future with some sense of uncertainty.


Simon Gooderham, director of rural surveyor and estate agent, Cheffins, says predicting the long-term impact is difficult, but that the result could impact on farmland lettings and sales markets.


Ross Murry, president of membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales, CLA believes farmers and rural business will create opportunities outside of the EU.


David Nussbaum CEO of WWF-UK thinks the vote to leave the EU brings “risks and uncertainties” for Britain’s wildlife and wild places.
“Environmental challenges don’t stop at borders and many require international solutions. Leaving the European Union brings risks and uncertainties for our wildlife and wild places, but with the right policies the UK could continue to be a global force for the protection of nature. As an immediate step we should retain the environmental protections that have delivered cleaner air and beaches, helped preserve habitats and cut carbon emissions – and build on them to reverse the environmental decline we are experiencing.

Dr Mike Clarke, RSPB's chief executive thinks that the UK must continue to "act internationally, and look to forge comprehensive international agreements for nature conservation and the environment".

The Wildlife Trusts said that following the result, the challenges faced by the UK’s wildlife are as "great as they have ever been":
"The EU has left a legacy of strong legislation and invested in many practical projects. Together, these have reduced the rate of wildlife losses and begun to reverse the fortunes of some of our wildlife.

Here's a good bit of brainstorming from postgraduate students on the issues:

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