Time to move Defra to York for the sake of farming and food policy; here’s why – The Yorkshire Post says
On the post-Brexit agricultural transition plan, she said policies are “informed and supported by evidence”; that Defra works in partnership with research councils as well as other departments and agencies and it has just “launched the farming innovation pathways competition”.
And so Ms Pow went on with great alacrity.
What she was actually doing, albeit inadvertently, was demonstrating to MPs why the HQ of Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should be based outside London – ideally in a location like York – and with just a small presence in the capital.
Policy-making can only be enhanced, the point made forcefully by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, himself an arable farmer, by far more Defra officials “moving out of London and into the wider farming community, where our food production is based”.
For, while Defra does already have a regional hub in York as it sets out plans to open a presence in Newcastle, the prevailing view, which Ms Pow ignores, is that her department’s relocation and redeployment plans should be far more ambitious.
And given Mr Sturdy’s considered view that the UK is “at risk of sleepwalking into its own food crisis” unless it develops a clear vision for how to increase production levels, the time to bring Defra decision-makers closer to farmers and food producers is now.
Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app, receive exclusive members-only offers and access to all premium content and columns. Click here to subscribe.