Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

Show
Find by:
Close

WSID

Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
Showing 1-20 out of 27
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all statements
Print selected
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 07 February 2019
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 28 January. The UK was represented by Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister.

The lead issue on the agriculture-focused agenda was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform post-2020, divided into two table rounds. The first round focused on Strategic Plans and Horizontal Regulations, detailing the changes to streamline the new delivery model, as well as the agricultural reserve. Member States broadly supported the call for the pillar two budget to be maintained, including a proposal which will allow a 35 percent deviation from annual milestones, among other things.

In the second debate, the Commission’s proposal to lift the ban on Vitis labrusca and six forbidden grape varieties was debated. The majority of wine producing Member States rejected the proposal on quality and reputational grounds. Commissioner Hogan then gave a presentation on Green Architecture which focused on Member States’ objectives to achieve high level climate ambitions.

Commissioner Hogan also introduced the non-legislative debate on supporting the growth of plant protein in the EU, setting out a wide range of proposed measures from the Commission’s Plan. A declaration, calling for measures to be brought together in an EU-wide action plan was supported by a number of Member States.

A number of other items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

- Commissioner Andriukaitis provided an update from the Ministerial conference on African swine fever (ASF) held in December 2018.

- Slovakia presented their request for an update on the dual quality food issue.

- Denmark informed Council about their new International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions (ICARS). The UK expressed its support, highlighting the new five year National AMR Action Plan and the Chief Medical Officer’s recent visit to Copenhagen.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 24 January 2019
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council takes place in Brussels on 28 January.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for agriculture will be on the Post-2020 Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform package. There will be an exchange of views on the new delivery model for the regulation on CAP strategic plans, followed by a presentation from the Commission on green architecture. Council will then discuss the proposed regulation on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products.

The Presidency will also give a presentation on its work programme, and there will be a presentation by the Commission on a protein plan, which Council will then debate.

There is currently one item scheduled for discussion under ‘any other business’:

- information from the Danish delegation on the establishment of an International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions (ICARS) to strengthen the fight against AMR internationally and especially in low- and middle-income countries.

An additional item is also expected to be added to the agenda under ‘any other business’:

- information from the Commission on the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on ‘Eradication of African swine fever in the EU and the long-term management of wild boar populations’

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 20 December 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

December Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 17, 18 and 19 November. The UK was represented by Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister.

On fisheries, the focus of the Council was EU quota negotiations, involving decisions on fishing opportunities for the next year for quota stocks in the North Sea, Atlantic, the English Channel, Irish and Celtic Seas. Fishing opportunities are set under the rules of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, which aims to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels by 2020 at the latest.

Prior to the Council, a number of negotiations had taken place with third countries, such as EU-Norway, which set fishing opportunities for certain stocks. The EU share of these opportunities were endorsed at the Council.

This year’s discussions were challenging for all member states given scientific advice on quota, which included a recommendation of zero total allowable catch (TAC) for five key species for UK fishermen, and the full implementation of the Landing Obligation from 1 Jan 2019 – a requirement to cut the wasteful discarding of fish.

The agreed deal ensures that there are now workable solutions to alleviate the risk of choke closing economically important mixed fisheries while also preventing fish from being wastefully discarded unnecessarily. The agreement also includes a commitment to review scientific data as the new regulation comes into effect.

Total fishing opportunities agreed for 2019 included increased quotas for:

- West of Scotland monkfish (+25%)

- Western hake (+28%)

- Skates and rays in the English Channel (+10%)

Limits remained the same for other stocks including Celtic Sea sole and pollack - and where the science showed it was necessary, quotas were reduced for certain stocks, including herring in the Celtic Sea.

Increases in quota for hake, haddock and megrim will benefit the whole of the UK. Increased quota for monkfish will provide a boost for the Scottish fleet, while Northern Ireland have benefitted from an increase in Irish Sea cod. Agreements on sea bass will offer welcome support to the inshore fleet in Wales.

The primary focus for agriculture was a debate on the Post 2020 CAP reform package, including three legislative proposals: the first on CAP strategic plans; the second on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP; and the third on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products. The Commission welcomed engagement from member states and outlined some of the areas to be considered, including the budget and the performance monitoring system. In the discussion that followed, member states stressed the importance of simplification and shared their views on convergence and the need for a transition period. Under the same item, Croatia also gave an update on its interparliamentary conference on the future of food and farming.

The Commission also informed Council about the new Bioeconomy strategy and mentioned initiatives by Member States, such as the BIOEAST conference, which Hungary gave an update on under the same item. The UK intervened to welcome the aims of the new strategy and encourage cooperation between member states.

Six other items were discussed separately under ‘any other business’:

- The Commission set out its proposal to amend the present CAP legislation for payments in 2019-2020, with the UK intervening in support and to call for additional flexibility

- Italy gave an update on forest damage

- The Commission informed Council about actions taken following the 2017 fipronil eggs contamination incident

- The Presidency discussed the progress of legislative files, namely Unfair Trading Practices, Spirit Drinks, and Fertilisers

- Poland gave a presentation on the situation in the pigmeat market situation

- The Presidency and Commission updated Council on the Plant Proteins conference held in Vienna in November.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 18 December 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

Bovine TB

Today I am updating the House on the implementation of the Government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.

Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK, causing devastation and distress for hard-working farmers and rural communities. We are therefore continuing to take strong action to eradicate the disease.

Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s independent review of the strategy highlighted a number of potential further actions while noting the level of challenge associated with eradicating bovine TB. We continue to consider the review’s advice in detail and will publish a formal response in due course.

In the meantime, I am today announcing plans to enhance biosecurity on farms and when trading, introducing earned recognition into our testing regime and inviting further applications to our badger vaccination grant scheme. I am also reporting on the outcome of 2018 badger control operations. All of the cull areas satisfied the level of badger removal that was required by their licence conditions.

Our joint industry-government biosecurity progress report has been published today. As part of our commitment to improving this important element of our wider TB strategy we will be investing £25,000 to improve the TB Hub website which is hosted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and which provides farmers and others with practical biosecurity advice. Furthermore, early next year we will carry out our first ever TB farm practices survey which will help us to get a better understanding of the extent to which biosecurity and other farming practices currently contribute to our efforts to control bovine TB.

Since January 2018 many herds in the Edge Area of England have been subject to six-monthly surveillance testing. From May 2019 we will give recognition to herds that have managed to stay clear of bovine TB restrictions in the last six years and herds that have achieved accreditation based on standards laid down by the Cattle Health Certification Standards body. We hope allowing these lower risk herds to revert to annual testing will incentivise others to take steps to reduce their TB risks.

There is broad scientific consensus that badgers are implicated in the spread of TB to cattle. This year, effective, licensed badger removal operations were completed by local farmers and landowners in 11 new areas and 19 existing areas. Alongside our robust cattle movement and testing regime, this will allow us to achieve and maintain long term reductions in the level of TB in cattle across the South West and Midlands, where the disease is widespread. The pace at which farmers and landowners came together to deliver an effective badger removal operation in Cumbria, part of the TB Low Risk Area, alongside enhanced cattle measures, has given us the best opportunity to stamp out the disease in this hotspot.

Badger BCG vaccination can provide a level of protection against disease and has a role to play in limiting TB spread to healthy badger populations. Therefore, a second round of applications for the ‘Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme’ is now open, with grant funding available to private groups wishing to carry out badger vaccination in the Edge Area of England. Groups will receive at least 50% funding towards their eligible costs. This builds on the three initial four-year projects we have funded, which successfully carried out badger vaccination in 2018.

We remain determined to implement all available measures necessary to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 December 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

December Agriculture and Fisheries Council

As the provisional agenda stands, the only item for fisheries will be a Council Regulation on Atlantic and North Sea TACs and Quotas for 2019, for which a political agreement is sought.

The primary focus for agriculture will be on the Post 2020 Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform package. Council will consider a progress report, covering three regulations: one on CAP strategic plans; a second on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP; and a third on common market organisation (CMO) of agriculture products.

Council will also hold an exchange of views on the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy.

There are currently six items scheduled for discussion under ‘any other business’:

- information from the Croatian delegation on the interparliamentary conference "The role of Parliaments in shaping the future of food and farming" (Zagreb, 22-23 November 2018)

- information from the Commission on the current legislative proposal on a Regulation amending Regulations (EU) No 1305/2013 and (EU) No 1307/2013 as regards certain rules on direct payments and support for rural development in respect of the years 2019 and 2020

- information from the Presidency on the conference "The development of Plant Proteins in the European Union – Opportunities and Challenges" (Vienna, 22-23 November 2018)

- information from the Presidency on massive forest damage in Europe

- information from the Commission on the follow-up to the fipronil incident: state of play of implementation

- information from the Danish delegation on the establishment of an International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions (ICARS) to strengthen the fight against AMR internationally and especially in low- and middle-income countries

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 29 November 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

November Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 19 November. The UK was represented by Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister.

The main focus of Council for fisheries was a Council Regulation for fixing the fishing opportunities for certain deep-sea fish stocks for 2019 and 2020, for which a political agreement was sought. The UK was content with the Commission proposal and intervened to stress the importance of setting fishing opportunities in line with scientific advice. Following a series of trilateral meetings between member states, the Commission and the Presidency, a unanimous political agreement was reached.

The primary focus for agriculture was a policy debate on the Post 2020 CAP reform package, including two legislative proposals: the first on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP; the second on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products. On the first legislative proposal, member states welcomed the shift to a performance-based approach, but voiced concern about the burden monitoring and reporting would place on them. On the second item, most member states were content to maintain the status quo, while some member states suggested that new tools should be applied.

An exchange of views was held on the current challenges in the field of plant protection. Member states agreed with the Presidency on the challenges posed by climate change and international trade in preventing the introduction and spread of damaging pests. The UK intervened, pointing out the UK’s long term plans and emphasising support for a precautionary approach on imports.

The Commission also informed Council about the present market situation which has been characterised by general stability. On the continuing issue in the sugar market, the Commission announced that it will be convening a high level group to propose action. A number of member states voiced specific concerns over pig meat.

Council held another exchange of views on Task Force Rural Africa (TFRA) which included a presentation of the findings from the body’s forthcoming report by the Commission and the chair of the Commission’s Task Force Rural Africa. Some member states suggested areas for partnership with a particular focus on delivering UN Sustainable Development Goals.

One item was discussed under ‘any other business’:

The Commission informed member states about the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, pointing out the low up-take of funding by member states.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 15 November 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

November Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will take place on 19 November in Brussels.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for fisheries will be a Council Regulation fixing the fishing opportunities for certain deep-sea fish stocks for 2019 and 2020, for which the Commission is seeking political agreement.

The primary focus for agriculture will be a policy discussion on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020. Council will discuss two regulations during this item: the first on financing, management, and monitoring of the CAP, and the second on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products.

The Commission will then provide an update on the situation in EU agricultural markets. There will also be an exchange of views on Task Force Rural Africa (TFRA) and on current challenges in the field of plant protection.

There is currently one item scheduled under ‘any other business’:

- information from the Commission on the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 November 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

Bovine TB Strategy Review

I am pleased to report that a review of the Government’s 25 Year Bovine TB Strategy, led by Sir Charles Godfray, has been published today. The Government welcomes the report and I extend my thanks to Sir Charles and his team for their hard work.

The report, which was commissioned by the Secretary of State in February 2018, aims to explore different approaches to disease control to inform future policy and maintain progress towards our target of achieving Officially TB Free status by 2038.

As a Government we are committed to eradicating bovine TB and have always been clear that there is no single measure for tackling this disease. That is why we have pursued a range of interventions, including cattle movement controls, vaccination, and controlled culling in certain areas.

Sir Charles’ report is an important contribution that will inform next steps and help us to take the Strategy to the next phase. The Government will consider its recommendations carefully. A formal response will be published in due course.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 01 November 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

October Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Luxembourg on 15 October. The UK was represented by Katrina Williams, Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, and Rory O’Donnell, Agriculture Counsellor.

The main focus of the Council for fisheries was a Regulation on fixing the fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2019, for which a political agreement was sought. Additional scientific advice for 2019 was presented and the deal received unanimous support from member states.

There was also an exchange of views on the EU-Norway annual consultation for 2019. The Commission highlighted the 2019 deadline for full implementation of the EU Landing Obligations and the 2020 deadline for all EU stocks to be fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield. The UK mentioned the importance of maximising inward trades of fish species to help mitigate potential ‘choke’ problems in the North Sea in 2019.

During an exchange of views on the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), some member states supported a move within ICCAT to progress the Bluefin tuna recovery plan into a management plan. Commissioner Vella agreed with greater participation of small scale fishers but made it clear that the existing controls should remain in place.

For agriculture, the main item that was discussed was the progress report on the Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans. Member states supported the new delivery model in principle but discussed making some of the requirements optional. In response, the Commission pointed out the importance of ensuring a level playing field.

The Commission debriefed Council on the G20 Agricultural Ministerial meeting that took place in July, highlighting that the conclusions reflected the EU’s position.

The Presidency updated Council on the outcome of the informal process to identify a single EU candidate for the next Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

A number of items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

- The Italian delegation raised an item about the state of the European sugar market

- The Spanish delegation informed Council of the upcoming electoral round for the Director-General of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV)

- The Commission gave an update on the state of play with African Swine Fever (ASF). An informal ministerial meeting on ASF will be held in the margins of the AgriFish Council on 19 December.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 01 November 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

Outcomes from the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission

I was unable to attend this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC67) on the 10-14 September 2018 in Brazil due to pressing commitments in relation to the UK’s exit from the EU. However, a strong UK delegation was present.

This meeting was particularly challenging, with a number of complex and controversial proposals tabled. These included a significant challenge to the long-standing moratorium on commercial whaling. However, I am happy to report that all UK objectives for this meeting were achieved and the strong global protection in place for cetaceans was maintained.

As always, the UK delegation worked tirelessly behind the scenes, supporting the EU Presidency, analysing proposals, brokering compromises, and influencing crucial decisions, all with the aim of securing improvements to the conservation and welfare of cetaceans.

The UK also ensured its long standing opposition to commercial whaling and whaling under Special Permit (scientific whaling) was made clear at every appropriate opportunity. As always, there was the need for careful diplomacy, with the UK working hard to ensure dialogue remained constructive and respectful despite the fundamental differences in views.

Of particular importance at this meeting was resisting the proposal by Japan to restructure the organisation to allow for the resumption of commercial whaling. This complex proposal sought to create a new Whaling Committee within the IWC to oversee a return to commercial whaling on abundant whale populations and relax the voting rules for amending the Convention’s Schedule (which contains the provision establishing the moratorium) from a three-quarter to a simple majority. The UK worked extremely hard on defending against this proposal, leading the coordination with likeminded countries to ensure a coherent and well aligned strategy. I was therefore extremely relieved to see that the proposal failed to secure sufficient support and that the critical commercial whaling moratorium remains in place. The UK will now use the intersessional period to reach out to countries on both sides of the debate to ensure that constructive engagement within the IWC is maintained.

I am pleased to also report that a number of other important agreements were reached. In particular with regards Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW) which was a challenging but important proposal and one that the UK had been engaging closely on for several months prior to the meeting. The proposal sought to renew, and in some cases increase, quotas for indigenous communities reliant on whales for subsistence purposes. In addition, it also introduced expanded carryover provisions to allow greater flexibility for hunters and a mechanism to automatically renew quotas without the need for the IWC to discuss and agree providing the scientific advice was favourable and there were no substantive changes to the hunt or subsistence need. After a series of complex negotiations within which the UK was centrally placed, an eventual compromise was reached. A compromise that protects indigenous communities’ access to food, reducing the stress and uncertainty associated with returning to the IWC every six years to request food for their families. But crucially balancing this by ensuring the IWC maintains its important oversight role and protecting its decision making power in the event that the status quo situation of the hunts changes. I am extremely pleased by this landmark decision for the IWC which clearly demonstrates the maturity and functioning nature of the organisation.

I was also encouraged to see a number of important decisions taken on tackling important threats to cetaceans. In particular the passing by consensus of Resolutions on underwater noise and ghost gear. The Florianopolis Declaration also passed following a vote, delivering a clear statement from anti-whaling nations on their vision for the future of the IWC; one that is rooted in conservation without the need for commercial or scientific whaling.

Important progress was also made on further modernisation of the organisation through institutional and governance improvements. An intersessional process was established to bring forward recommendations and develop a programme of work in time for the next biennial meeting in 2020. The working group tasked with delivering this will be chaired by the USA, with the UK taking on an important role as Vice Chair.

I was pleased to see how the discussions on Special Permits progressed following the report of the intersessional working group established by Resolution at the previous biennial meeting. The UK participated in this group, expertly chaired by Australia, which delivered for the first time a clear and concise summary of the advice of the Scientific Committee and proposed conclusions for the IWC to adopt. Despite disagreements from pro-whaling nations, the IWC meeting report will reflect these conclusions as representing the view of the Commission, with a statement opposing from those that disagreed. This represents a good outcome and for the first time provides significant clarity of position for the IWC on this matter.

Once again I am pleased to report that the UK, in line with the agreed position of EU Member States, voted in favour of establishing a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. Unfortunately the proposal failed to gain the three-quarters majority required for adoption. I expect this proposal to be re-tabled at the next meeting in 2020, which, in the absence of any other offer, will be hosted by Slovenia.

Finally, I was pleased that UK led work to develop a tool to assess the welfare implications of non-hunting threats to cetacean welfare and efforts to further strengthen the conservation work of the IWC received endorsement. We will continue working closely with NGOs and academia to maintain momentum and continue to deliver improved conservation and welfare outcomes for cetaceans.

In conclusion, despite the significant challenges faced at this meeting, this can be viewed as a success. We now turn our attention to the intersessional period and, following our successful nomination to the IWC Bureau, begin building for the 2020 meeting. Integral to this will be our continued close working with civil society in delivering our shared goal of improving the conservation and welfare of cetaceans globally.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 11 October 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

October Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will take place on 15 October in Luxembourg.

As the provisional agenda stands, the main focus for fisheries will be a Regulation on fixing the fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2019, for which a political agreement is sought.

Council will then hold an exchange of views on the EU-Norway annual consultation for 2019. There will also be an exchange of views on the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

For agriculture, the main item will be a progress report on the Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans. The European Commission will also give a presentation on the G-20 agriculture meeting.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

Bovine TB

I want to update the House on the implementation of the government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.

Today the Animal and Plant Health Agency has published data showing there has been a drop in TB incidence in the first two cull areas where the number of new confirmed breakdowns has dropped by around 50%. In Gloucestershire the incidence rate has dropped from 10.4% before culling began to 5.6% in the twelve months following the fourth cull. While in Somerset it has dropped from 24% to 12%.

Data on TB incidence in the next eight areas has also been published today although, as we anticipated, it is too early to see any impact on TB in those areas.

Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK and the government is continuing to take strong action to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries. Today I am announcing further steps to enhance and strengthen our eradication strategy; opening a new round of applications to our badger vaccination grant scheme and issuing new licences for badger control in 2018.

Although it does not provide complete protection or cure infected animals (which continue to spread TB), badger vaccination has a role to play and 3 projects have received government funding in 2018 to vaccinate badgers in the Edge Area of England. Therefore, applications for the ‘Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme’ will be re-opened later this year, with grant funding available to private groups wishing to carry out badger vaccination in the Edge Area. Groups will receive at least 50% funding towards their eligible costs.

There is broad scientific consensus that badgers are implicated in the spread of TB to cattle. This year, following the effective licensed badger control operations in 2017, culling operations will take place across 39% of the High Risk Area. This includes a further ten new areas which have been licenced to undertake culling operations in 2018. Alongside our robust cattle movement and testing regime, this will allow us to achieve and maintain long term reductions in the level of TB in cattle across the South West and Midlands, where the disease is widespread.

In order to eradicate a pocket of infection in both cattle and badgers in the Low Risk Area, we have also licenced an area within Cumbria to undertake culling operations in 2018. Along with 6 monthly cattle testing, movement restrictions and good biosecurity on farms this approach offers the best opportunity to deal quickly with this real and serious threat in the Low Risk Area.

To ensure we have a successful and resilient industry as the UK enters a new trading relationship with the world, we are determined to implement all available measures necessary to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible. To aid this, a review, led by Professor Sir Charles Godfray, is looking at options to take the bTB Strategy to the next phase and will report to Ministers by the end of September 2018. The findings will be published in due course along with information on next steps.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 12 July 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

July Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will take place on 16 July in Brussels.

As the provisional agenda stands, the main agricultural item will be a presentation by the Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020, followed by an exchange of views. Council will discuss three regulations during this item: a Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans; a Regulation on Financing, management and monitoring of the CAP; and a Regulation on common market organisation of agricultural products.

There will also be a presentation by the Presidency on its work programme.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 03 July 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

June Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Luxembourg on 18 June. I represented the UK.

The main focus of the Council was fisheries items. The most substantive of these was a presentation by the European Commission on the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Commissioner Vella outlined the main aims for 2019: reaching maximum sustainable yield targets, fully meeting the Landing Obligation, and implementing the Baltic and North Sea Multi-annual Plans (MAPs). There was an exchange of views among member states. The UK reiterated its commitment to the Landing Obligation and spoke of the need for pragmatic solutions to prevent choke problems in 2019.

The Netherlands gave a presentation to highlight a recent report from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) about pulse beam trawling. Member states agreed that more research was needed. The UK drew attention to original research being carried out by Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), whose report is due in 2019.

There was a presentation by the Commission on a new proposal revising the Control Regulation. The presentation raised the possibility of increased electronic reporting and satellite control as well as greater oversight of the recreational fishing sector. Member states voiced concerns about the practicalities and costs of these changes, especially the introduction of CCTV.

The Commission also gave a presentation on a regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), covering the period 2021-2027, outlining its intention to give member states more flexibility in managing the fund. Member states welcomed the offer of greater flexibility but requested further discussion about the Fund’s budget and administration.

The most substantive item for agriculture was a presentation by the Commission on reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020. Member states expressed a range of views, with some of them concerned about planned budgetary cuts. Member states agreed on the importance of achieving real simplification. The Commission signalled further discussion on this topic and welcomed further constructive recommendations from member states.

The Commission also gave an update on the agricultural market situation, giving a generally positive assessment of the health of EU markets.

Six further items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

- the Slovenian delegation gave a presentation on their UN initiative ‘World Bee Day’

- the Polish delegation presented on the situation in the pig meat market

- the French delegation presented on the disposal of skimmed milk powder stocks

- the Cyprus delegation gave information about the decreasing availability of water for agriculture in Cyprus

- the Spanish delegation provided information about anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties against Spanish table olives by the US authorities

- the Hungarian delegation delivered a joint Declaration of the Visegrad, Baltic, and Balkan member states about a shared initiative in agriculture, forestry, and aquaculture research, ‘BIOEAST’.

Until the UK leaves the European Union, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of our negotiations with the EU on the future partnership will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 14 June 2018
Made by: George Eustice (The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

June Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will take place on 18 June in Luxembourg.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for fisheries will be a presentation by the European Commission on the state of play of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2019.

Council will exchange views on a Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, followed by an exchange of views concerning a Regulation amending Council Regulations as regards fisheries control.

The primary focus for agriculture will be an exchange of views on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020. Council will discuss three regulations during this item: a Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans; a Regulation on Financing, management and monitoring of the CAP; and a Regulation on common market organisation of agricultural products.

The Commission will also provide an update on the situation in EU agricultural markets.

There are currently six items scheduled under ‘Any other business’:

- protection of honeybees and other pollinators

- memorandum on the CAP in the context of the next MFF

- decreasing availability of water for agriculture in Cyprus

- disposal of skimmed milk powder stocks

- situation in the pig meat market

- joint declaration of the ministers of agriculture of 11 Member States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) on the Vision of the Central Eastern European Initiative for Knowledge-based Agriculture, Aquaculture and Forestry in the Bio-economy ‘BIOEAST’.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food )
Commons

Bovine TB

I wish to update the House on the Government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB (bTB) in England by 2038. The measures I am announcing today will help to strengthen disease control and expand our options to tackle new outbreaks of bTB.

Following the recent consultation on the principle of allowing badger control in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England, I am announcing my intention to enable badger control measures in the LRA in the rare event that disease in badgers is linked with infected herds. This will allow any such outbreaks to be tackled rapidly to prevent bTB from spreading further within the wildlife and cattle populations. It will also help preserve the LRA’s low incidence status.

Badger control in the LRA is expected to be permitted only in very exceptional circumstances where veterinary epidemiologists judge an area to meet the published criteria for a bTB ‘hotspot’. Any decision on whether to implement badger control in a specific LRA location will be taken by the Defra Secretary of State after considering all relevant scientific and veterinary advice. All the stringent licensing criteria set out in Defra’s Guidance to Natural England will need to be met by the cull company.

In summer 2017 we consulted on a proposal to pay compensation at 50 per cent of the average market price for any animal brought into a TB breakdown herd which then fails a TB test whilst that breakdown is still ongoing. This already happens in Wales and I have decided that it should apply in England from 1 November 2018. The proposal is intended to encourage herd owners to take further steps to improve their disease controls in a sensible and proportionate manner. One way they can do this is to seek accreditation under a scheme based on the standards laid down by the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) body. Herds which are accredited at the time of the breakdown will continue to receive 100 per cent compensation for all compulsorily slaughtered cattle.

In a further strengthening of our testing regime, in December 2017 we confirmed that surveillance testing for most herds in the High Risk Area will take place at six monthly intervals to improve early detection and eradication of disease, and to prevent it spreading to new areas. We have decided that this change should take effect from early 2020, when the next generation of TB testing contracts with veterinary delivery partners will be put in place.

The TB strategy review led by Professor Sir Charles Godfray, announced in February, is considering how to take the strategy to the next phase, so we are able to deploy all tools to tackle this terrible disease. Currently in their evidence-gathering phase, the reviewers are examining progress with implementation and how we can improve, enhance or accelerate our approach.

Copies of the summary of consultation responses and way forward document have been placed in the Library of the House.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 26 April 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

April Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Luxembourg on 16 April. Counsellor Rory O’Donnell represented the UK.

The most substantive agricultural item was a presentation by the European Commission setting out a proposal for a Directive on ‘Unfair Trading Practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain’. The Commission’s presentation highlighted the UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) as an example of best practice in this field. The UK outlined its agreement with Member State action to tackle unfair trading practices, but stressed the need for any proposed EU-wide legislation to protect well-functioning existing national systems.

The Bulgarian Presidency also provided the Council with an update on food losses and food waste, following the adoption of Council Conclusions on tackling food waste in June 2016. The Council reaffirmed its commitment to meeting UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 on food waste.

For fisheries, the focus of this Council was a presentation by the European Commission outlining a proposed multi-annual plan for fish stocks in Western Waters. The UK welcomed the proposal’s alignment of the Western Waters plan with the approach taken in the North Sea plan, while reminding Council of the need to find solutions for bycatch stocks in the context of meeting the landing obligation.

Four further items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

  • the Spanish delegation requested clarification on interpreting the landing obligation in article 15 of the Common Fisheries Policy

  • the Presidency informed the Council of the outcomes of the TAIEX workshop on the role of wildlife in animal health management

  • the Polish and Danish delegations presented information on African Swine Fever

  • the European Commission informed Council about a proposed Regulation on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS631
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 16 March 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State)
Commons

March Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will take place on 19 March in Brussels.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus for fisheries will be an exchange of views regarding a Regulation on a multi-annual plan for demersal species in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

The primary focus for agriculture will be the adoption of Council Conclusions on ‘The Future of Food and Farming’.

There are currently two items scheduled under ‘Any other business’:

- working conditions and safety on board fishing vessels – ratification and transposition of international instruments

- joint declaration of 10 Member States (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) on future development of freshwater aquaculture in the EU after 2020.

Parliament voted to trigger article 50 and leave the European Union. Until we leave the EU, all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of our negotiations with the EU on a future partnership will determine what arrangements apply in future.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 05 March 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State)
Commons

February Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 19 February. Counsellor Rory O’Donnell represented the UK.

The most substantive Council discussion was an exchange of views on ‘The Future of Food and Farming’, a continuation of early discussion of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020. Member States agreed on the importance of direct payments in providing income stability to farmers. The UK signposted a future domestic agriculture policy based on rewarding farmers for public goods.

The Council moved on to a discussion of possible revisions to the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. Member States were in agreement that the agricultural sector would benefit from a greater role in the bioeconomy, particularly in exploring new methods of adding value in agricultural supply chains.

The European Commission provided Council with information on an EU Protein Plan. The UK welcomed the plan, and particularly planned actions to tackle deforestation.

Three further items were discussed under ‘any other business’:

* the European Commission presented information to Council on the Rural Africa Task Force

* the Polish delegation presented a paper to Council on rural development in the CAP post 2020

* the Agriculture Ministers of the Visegrad Member States presented a joint declaration to the Council on ‘The Future of Food and farming’.

Until the UK leaves the European Union, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of our negotiations with the EU on the future partnership will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 25 January 2018
Made by: George Eustice (Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)
Commons

January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will take place on 29 January in Brussels.

As the provisional agenda stands, the primary focus will be information from the European Commission on ‘The Future of Food and Farming’, looking towards the next cycle of the Common Agricultural Policy.

The Bulgarian Presidency will present its work programme for the remainder of this term, finishing at the end of June. The European Commission will update the Council on the situation in EU agricultural markets, and on trade-related agricultural issues.

There are currently three items scheduled under ‘Any other business’:

  • situation in the sugar market after the abolition of the quota system

  • situation in the pig meat market

  • conclusions from the Ministerial Conference on Xylella fastidiosa (Paris, 1 December 2017).

Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS418
Expand all statements
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 27
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100