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Updated: 11 weeks 3 days ago

Greens accuse Defra Secretary of environmental irresponsibility and absence of post-Brexit farming plan

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 16:15

Greens have accused the Defra Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, of environmental irresponsibility following her call to abandon an important ‘greening’ measure post Brexit. Ms Leadsom has said that the ‘three crop rule’, agreed unanimously by Agricultural ministers in 2013 as part of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), should be scrapped [1]. The rule applies to farms of over 30 hectares where farmers must grow at least 3 crops and was agreed in order to help conserve the environment and contribute to addressing greenhouse emissions [2].

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West and a member of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, said:

“Our worst fears about a post-Brexit farming landscape are being realised. Rather than using the opportunities offered by Brexit to encourage a move towards a diverse and ecologically sustainable farming system this government seem determined to dive headlong into encouraging damaging monocultures.

“The attack on the three crop rule shows Leadsom is set on shredding measures aimed at safeguarding our soils, protecting habitats and utilizing farmland for capturing and storing carbon. There is also a strong whiff of hypocrisy here since the greening measures that Leadsom is now vowing to rip up were agreed unanimously by all EU Agricultural ministers, including her own government’s [3].

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment committee, said:

"Andrea Leadsom has again attempted to vilify EU safeguards by labelling them as 'red tape' and, most concerningly, promising to scrap the vital protections. The 'red tape' the Environment Minister is threatening to cut is currently protecting our rural environment, our biodiversity, our soil, and the welfare of farm animals.

“In truth, and as recognised by MPs sitting on the Environmental Audit Committee today, leaving the European Union also puts at risk the body of EU law which accounts for almost 80% of UK wildlife and animal welfare protections."

The criticisms from the Greens come as the Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee warns British farming faces significant risks after Brexit. Farmers could face tariffs of up to 50% on exports to the EU if Britain leaves the single market, warns the Committee. In a new report, the Committee echoes Green concerns about the threats to the agricultural sector post-Brexit and the need for a future farming model that promotes biodiversity, prevents flooding and stores carbon [4].

Green Party speaker on agriculture, Oliver Dowding, who is an organic farmer, said:

“Leadsom is floundering in a vacuous void just at a time when farmers need reassurance. Her government has no plan for agriculture post-Brexit. For instance, there is deep uncertainty on whether we will remain in the single market, or whether farmers will face tariffs on their exports.

“But we need a farming system that looks beyond selling and exporting. We need a long-term policy based on protecting our soils, promoting the health and wellbeing of consumers and encouraging biodiversity.”

Notes

[1] http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/ofc-2017-leadsom-pledge-scrap-three-crop-rule.htm

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/direct-support/greening_en

[3] https://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/agriculture-myths-cropping-the-facts-on-the-three-crop-rule/

[4] http://news.sky.com/story/brexit-could-put-countryside-farming-and-wildlife-at-risk-10717420

Green co-leader Jonathan Bartley responds to Fabian Society report

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 15:34

* Jonathan Bartley: “Let’s not hand the future over to the regressives by refusing to work together.”

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to the Fabian Society report [1] which said Labour should consider partnerships if the party is to stand a chance of getting into government.

Bartley warned that “the old politics is dying”, and if progressive parties do not work together they risk a generation of Conservative Government.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, said:

“If those of us on the left and centre-left don’t think about working together strategically then we risk consigning this country to a generation of Conservative government. For the sake of our NHS, our welfare state and our environment we desperately need to look at how we work together to beat the Tories at the next election – and it’s good to see the idea of some form of progressive agreement gaining so much ground in recent weeks. Those MPs opposing even the idea of working together should take a long hard look at the state of our public services and the lives of those who are struggling in their own communities and ask themselves whether dismissing this concept at such an early stage really serves our country well. If 2016 taught us anything it’s that the old politics is dying – let’s not hand the future over to the regressives by refusing to work together. 

“No single party has a monopoly on wisdom and the ultimate aim for any true democratic must be that Britain becomes a thriving multi-party democracy, free from the shackles of an electoral system that shuts people out. That’s why a commitment to electoral reform must be at the heart of working together. With the Green Party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats in favour of truly representative elections it’s now down to Labour to show that they’re serious about giving people control by backing electoral reform and having an open conversation about how best to beat the Conservatives.

“The Green Party will continue to stand and contest elections, and we will campaign on the very many issues which define us from the other parties. But we’re also open to talking to those on the left willing to consider working together to deliver a fairer society and real democracy. Let’s not miss this opportunity to do things differently, and have a mature conversation about how to best protect our communities from a generation of Conservative rule.”

Notes:

  1. http://www.fabians.org.uk/publications/stuck/

Manchester Green Party: Tragic Death of Deyika Nzeribe, Green Party Mayoral Candidate

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 13:10

We are very sad to report the sudden and untimely death yesterday (Jan 1) of Deyika Nzeribe, Green Party Candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor.

Deyika Nzeribe, 50, joined the Green Party in 2010, and stood in the Hulme ward by-election in November of that year. He represented the Party in the ward on several occasions after that, as well as being Chair of Manchester Green Party for a period of time.

He beat three other candidates to be the Party's candidate in the 2017 election for the new post of Greater Manchester Mayor. He embraced the role with growing enthusiasm, and would have made an excellent contribution to what will be a high-profile contest. 

Deyika was involved in many campaigns in Manchester and beyond, both inside and outside the Green Party. Within hours of his death being announced his Facebook page was full of tributes from people from many organisations and walks of life; he was a much-loved and generous man and he will be sorely missed. 

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, said: "I was absolutely devastated to hear this tragic and shocking news. My thoughts and those of the whole party go out to Deyika's family right now. Like many in the party I felt privileged to know him, and was thrilled to be asked to be there at the recent launch of his mayoral campaign. He was someone who was so full of life and anyone who met him could not fail to be touched by his gentle genuineness. He will be greatly missed."

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, said: "I am deeply saddened and shocked by the passing of Deyika Nzeribe. Deyika was one of those wonderful people whose passion for life and passion for change was contagious. He inspired, he worked tirelessly and truly cared about his community and the need for change in our world."

Natalie Bennett, former Green Party leader, said: "It was my privilege to work closely with Deyika. He was a man of enormous energy, passion and creativity, caring deeply for his home community of Hulme and broader communities across Manchester."

Astrid Johnson, co-chair Manchester Green Party and mayoral campaign co-manager, said: “We are all in shock to loose this incredible man and good friend. Deyika was one of the most compassionate and thoughtful people I know. He cared deeply about equality for everyone, in Hulme, Manchester and as a Mayoral Candidate for all the communities in Greater Manchester. His fight has always been against poverty and inequality. My main thoughts are with his family at this time for their incredible loss."

Green Party members across Greater Manchester and beyond have expressed their shock and sorrow at this tragic news and on their behalf, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Deyika's family and to his many friends.