Futures Forum: Brexit: and how prepared local authorities are
Especially when it comes to food supplies:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and "Feeding Britain > Food Security after Brexit"
The East Devon Watch blog notes today that they don't have the resources to cope:
Food resilience after Brexit – councils must set up risk teams” | East Devon Watch
Plymouth City Council has been asking for more information:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Plymouth demanding 'the truth about the impact of leaving'
It has been told it can't have that information:
Council makes plan in case Plymouth runs out of food after Brexit
"We’re making plans for food resilience and a range of other Brexit-related risks that will make our city vulnerable."
07:05, 3 DEC 2018
Plymouth City Council is working on a plan to tackle possible food shortages after Brexit.
But the council's Labour leader says the Government is leaving the authority in the dark about the risks.
Tudor Evans has confirmed the council will be making plans for “food resilience” among other potential risks from leaving the European Union in March.
An advice notice sent to all UK local authorities says they should set up a team to make risk assessments of how different outcomes for Brexit might affect food availability and supplies in their areas.
Councillor Evans, leader of the city council, said: “This is one of the main reasons that we asked the government for information on how leaving the EU will affect Plymouth. We have to be prepared to face what’s coming. Of course we’re making plans for food resilience and a range of other Brexit-related risks that will make our city vulnerable.
“But the problem is, we’re making these plans completely blind. We’ve heard nothing from the government. Not a peep. I plead with the government yet again; tell us what Brexit - deal, no deal or otherwise - means for Plymouth.”
Cllr Evans revealed that last week he received a letter from James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Local Government, refusing a request for a copy of the Government’s assessment of how Brexit could affect Plymouth.
Cllr Evans said on Twitter, that with 99 days to go before the leaving date: “My Council is better supported by the government for the death of Her Majesty than we have been for Brexit.”
Cllr Evans’ letter to Mr Brokenshire in September was a challenge under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 to release information to the council about the Government's assessment about how Brexit will impact communities and businesses "for good or ill".
There have been concerns that a no-deal Brexit could disrupt supplies of food and medicine, and cause a backlog of lorries at Plymouth waiting to clear customs under the new arrangements.
In September, Cllr Evans highlighted a series of issues that needed resolving, including the status of Plymouth as a port involved in international trade and the operation of its fishing fleet. He told members of the council’s Brexit Committee that he did not know whether the city would need to create a lorry park if new customs rules delayed ferry traffic.
He said it was unclear how many customs staff, environmental health officers or vets the council might need to employ. And he also raised the possible impact of Brexit on social care and the NHS, which employed many EU nationals whose status might be affected.
The advice document sent to local authorities was created by specialists at City, University of London, University of Sussex and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). The briefing, which is the latest in the Food Brexit Briefing series from the Food Research Collaboration, advises that councils will have a role to play as the local voice and ears to help limit the risk of social disorder, which has been brought on by food supply problems in the past.
There is wide agreement within local authorities that some level of preparation for food supply after Brexit is both possible and sensible, according to the document.
The advice notice suggests food resilience teams should:
- map existing food systems in their regions;
- conduct rapid assessments of where risks and potential disruptions lie;
- clarify the limits to stockpiling;
- bring together relevant professionals and expertise;
- be prepared to convey this information to the Government and public.
The notice highlights local authorities’ responsibility for the enforcement of food safety and standards regulation, with a scope ranging from school meals to imported and exported products.
However, it says the Government’s guidance notes for a no-deal Brexit are “welcome but inadequate” and warns that local authorities have not been given enough advice. According to the notice, every form of Brexit will affect the food system in some way, particularly a no-deal scenario. Several food risks are highlighted, including: price changes, reduced food availability, lower standards and safety, supply disruption, border delays, freight logistics and public disorder.
The food resilience teams should combine expertise from both within the authority - such as environmental health officers, trading standards officers, planners, food emergency planning bodies - and other experts, including NHS-based nutritionists and dietitians, and representatives from commercial bodies and chambers of commerce with knowledge of local food infrastructure, the notice recommends.
Professor Tim Lang, of the Centre for Food Policy at City, said: “Setting up food resilience teams is something practical local authorities can do. These should map local food system risks and help set public protection priorities.”
UK could run out of drinking water within days of no-deal Brexit
Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at CIEH, said: “Local authorities have been asking us for practical advice on how to prepare for a food Brexit – this document contains that advice.”
Erik Millstone, Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex, said: “The impact of Brexit on food supplies will depend on where people live. Those furthest from Channel ports will be at greatest risk of shortages, which is important for local authorities because their locations will make big differences.”
The briefing has been produced by the Food Research Collaboration, an initiative of the Centre for Food Policy jointly with the CIEH and the University of Sussex.
Council makes plan in case Plymouth runs out of food after Brexit - Devon Live