The Crop Protection Association (CPA) wants both sides of the EU referendum campaign to say exactly how they believe the regulatory regime for agriculture would change as a result of the referendum’s outcome. While the Association will not be taking a position on the referendum, it says it is vital that EU regulation and its effect on innovation in agriculture is properly debated.
Nick von Westenholz, CPA chief executive, states: “UK farmers face a significant regulatory burden as a result of our EU membership, from the environmental standards they are required to observe to constraints on the availability of new technologies in seed-breeding and crop protection. The crop protection industry has long argued for regulatory reform and the importance of a risk-based system, founded on science, that ensures protection for both consumers and the environment while incentivising innovation and providing farmers with new technologies to grow safe and affordable food.
“Farming, more than any other sector, will be affected enormously by the outcome of June’s referendum, and regulatory reform is a crucial aspect of the debate. Those urging us to remain in the EU must set out a clear path for improving the system in a reformed EU, and not simply argue that the UK outside the EU would nevertheless remain subject to the same burdensome regulations. Similarly, those campaigning for Brexit need to set out the mechanism for establishing a post-EU regulatory system that will promote the competiveness and productivity of UK farmers. These issues involve important questions that farmers will want to know the answer to.
“Whether in or out, UK farming would benefit from a regulatory environment that fosters innovation, incentivises the development and adoption of new technologies such as GM and advanced crop protection products, and promotes modern, productive farming. It is crucial that all sides of the referendum debate explain their vision for how this is achieved after June’s vote.”