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Manifestos: Agriculture and fishing

Manifestos: Agriculture and fishing Brian Maudsley
How would the parties deal with agriculture, fishing and farming?

CONSERVATIVE

• Set out a long-term vision for the future of British farming, working with industry to develop a 25-year plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food.

• Treble the number of apprenticeships in food, farming and agri-tech.

• Promote British food abroad by setting up a Great British Food Unit to help trademark and promote local foods around the world and back British food at home.

• Defend Common Fisheries Policy reforms, which include ending the practice of discarding perfectly edible fish and reforming the quota system so that all at-risk species, including cod, plaice, haddock and seabass, are fished sustainably by the end of the next Parliament.

• Continue to devolve the management of North Sea fisheries to local communities, and rebalance the UK’s inland water quotas to smaller, specific locally-based fishing communities.

• Support a science-led approach on GM crops and pesticides and implement a 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB.

LABOUR

• Create a ‘world-leading’ Food, Farm and Fisheries sector that creates better paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy.

• Put in place a long-term strategy for the sector, promote British produce, and expand the role of the supermarket watchdog to support the growth of the sector, and protect food producers from ‘unfair practices’ by the major supermarkets.

 1234(Image: USDA)

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

• Ensure farming support is concentrated on sustainable food production, conservation and tackling climate change, shifting CAP payments to the active farmer rather than the landowner.

• Work at EU level to ensure clear and unambiguous country of origin labeling on meat, meat products, milk and dairy products.

• Help farmers and growers compete internationally by continuing to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden and developing an Animal Disease Strategy to reduce the risks and costs of animal disease.

• Continue to improve standards of animal welfare, building on Britain’s leadership. Review the use of cages, crates and routine preventive antibiotics.

• Fully implement recent reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy, working with industry and others to develop a national plan for sustainable UK fisheries, with fair treatment for the inshore small boat fleet.

GREEN PARTY

• Reform the Common Agricultural Policy and reform national agri-environment schemes to prioritise and support farmers who farm sustainably and enhance biodiversity on farmed land with a variety of farming styles, methods and scales.

• Foster environmentally sustainable agriculture, land management and a secure food supply by properly supporting valid, rigorous and reliable research into all areas and types of farming including organic farming.

• Encourage farming to operate in fair trade conditions, which guarantee a decent livelihood for farmers at home and also in countries that export food to the UK.

• Protect productive farmland from development except for that associated with agriculture and those engaged in it. In particular, review the current classification of farm land to maximise local production of food.

• Work to reduce food imports and increase home and local food production where feasible.

• Increase localisation of the food chain and encourage direct sales via local markets; support fair trade for farmers and enable them to gain independence from disadvantageous contracts with supermarkets by strengthening the powers of the supermarket ombudsman.

• Help hospitals and schools and other food buyers in the public sector to lead the way in buying sustainable products, and encourage children to be involved in growing and cooking food.

• Work to ensure sustainable fishing policies, leading to sustainable fishing communities, at both the national and European levels as appropriate. In particular, fishing quota allocations should reward local sustainable fisheries.

• Research, promote and support farming methods that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enable carbon storage and have minimum impact on wildlife, as established by rigorous and reliable research. In particular, encourage ‘eating less and better meat’.

• Work to reduce food waste.

• End factory farming and enforce strict animal welfare standards, enforce a complete ban on cages for hens and rabbits and on zero-grazing units for dairy cows.

• Improve labelling and better traceability of food to prevent further food scandals such as the horse meat scandal and enforce mandatory labelling of meat and dairy products as to method of production and method of slaughter.

• Introduce mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses.

• Introduce tougher regulations on animal transportation, including a maximum limit of eight hours and an end to live export from the UK.

• Take action to stop the overuse of antibiotics in intensive animal farming, with mandatory targets and surveillance of the human health impacts.

• Enforce a ban on the production and sale of foie gras.

• Ban the cloning of farm animals and the sale of meat and milk from these animals.

• End genetic selection for fast growth or high yields where this results in compromised welfare such as ill health or pain.

• Seek protection for British farmers from low-welfare imports.

 24(Image: Marine Management Association)

UKIP

• Introduce a modified UK Single Farm Payment (SFP) scheme of £80 per acre for lowland farms, with comparable arrangements for lower grades of land, capped at £120,000. Golf courses, airfields, racetracks and other non-productive areas will be excluded, as will land used for solar panels or land within 25 metres of a wind turbine.

• Land must conform to 2013 Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) requirements, where points are accrued according to criteria such as hedgerow maintenance, wild bird cover, wild flower mixes, etc., to qualify for subsidies.

• Organic farms will be paid a 25 per cent premium on the SFP.

• Add rare breed maintenance to the ELS points system.

• No set-aside, cropping or rotation restrictions.

• SFP will be paid to whoever takes financial responsibility for the farming enterprise on a field-by-field basis (i.e. the farmer, not the landowner).

• Hill farmers will receive additional headage payments on livestock numbers within World Trade Organization rules.

• Establish a 12-mile zone around the coastline for UK fishermen and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone under UK control.

• Reverse the rapid decline in the fishing industry and return £2.5billion a year in fish sales to the UK economy.

• Enforce ‘no-take’ zones to aid spawning and replenish fish stocks.

• Protect coastal ecosystem by ending destructive industrial fishing practices.

• End the slaughter of dolphins by banning pair trawler fishing for bass.

• Work with fishermen to solve discard and landing issues.

• Reverse any EU-wide drift-net ban in British waters.

• Issue permits for foreign trawlers once fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.

• Support research into GM foods, including research on the benefits and risks involved to the public. Allow a free vote in Parliament on commercial cultivation.

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY

• Take forward the introduction of Scotland’s new rural development programme, which will provide crucial support for Scottish farming, food production, rural communities and the environment.

• Continue to press for speedy European sign-off of Scotland’s rural development programme. Continue to take action in Scotland to minimise any delay or disruption to payments.

• Continue to work to ensure the discard ban is implemented in a way that does not damage the viability of the fleet and is workable for fishermen. End the practice of dumping perfectly good fish back into the sea.

• Aim to grow and strengthen local economies, both urban and rural by increasing the minimum wage.

• Want to sustain jobs and find ways to support the entry of the next generation of skippers.

PLAID CYMRU

• Support the continuation of the common agricultural policy ‘that keeps over 80 per cent of Welsh farms in business with direct payments’.

• Increase the promotion of Welsh products by opening up new international markets to its food and drink.

• See food produced, processed and sold locally and support the localisation of the food chain to reduce ‘food miles’ to reduce pollution and support local farms, processing facilities and farmer’s markets.

• Introduce a Food Waste bill, requiring large food retailers and food manufacturers to take steps to reduce food waste, including donating surplus food to charities for distribution.

• Support and safeguard sustainable sea-fishing and seafood production.

• Support the blue growth strategy to strengthen the maritime and marine economy.

• Stand against the growth of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Wales and support a GMO-free British Isles and Europe on a precautionary principle.

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