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Gove highlights challenges of no-deal Brexit
"Nobody can be blithe or blasé about the real impact on food producers of leaving without a deal."
Tariffs and border checks will add costs to producers

British farmers will experience “considerable turbulence” if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, according to environment secretary Michael Gove.

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference 2019, Mr Gove outlined the potential impact a no-deal Brexit could have on the farming industry.

He said the UK is on the verge of a ‘fourth agricultural revolution’ which will require farmers to change the way they work and invest in their future.

“The more sophisticated than ever analysis of big data, drone development, machine learning and robotics will dramatically improve productivity on traditionally farmed land, not least by reducing the need for labour,” he said.

But Mr Gove also said it was important to be clear about the significant challenges a no-deal Brexit would pose.

“It’s a grim and inescapable fact that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the effective tariffs in beef and sheep meat would be above 40 per cent - in some cases well above that,” he said.

He also stressed that all products of animal origin will have to go through border inspection posts. There could also be major delays at ports because the major trade route between Dover and Calais doesn’t yet have the necessary inspection posts.

“The combination of significant tariffs when none exist now, friction and checks at the border when none exist now and requirements to re-route or pay more for transport when current arrangements are frictionless, will all add to costs for producers,” he said.

Referring to these costs, Mr Gove explained that Defra was ‘doing everything to mitigate these costs’ and developing plans to help support the industry on a variety of contingencies.

But he added that “nobody can be blithe or blasé about the real impact on food producers of leaving without a deal.”

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”