At an extraordinary meeting of Full Council on 26 October, Councillor Cottle-Hunkin, Lead Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure, brought forward a Notice of Motion regarding the Lords’ amendment to the Agriculture Bill.
The motion proposed that Torridge District Council should express its anger and disappointment on the government’s decision to vote against protecting food standards in the Agriculture Bill. This is a devastating blow to farmers and consumers, impacting upon animal welfare, the environment and public health. We urge the government to reconsider its stance when the Bill returns from the House of Lords in November.
The motion was duly approved by Full Council and Torridge District Council has sent a letter to central government to express disappointment and anger at the Government’s decision to vote against protecting food standards in the Agriculture Bill.
In a rural area such as Torridge, the livelihoods of the farming community and those who rely on them should be one of the primary concerns of the local parliamentary representatives. Letters have therefore also been sent to the MP for Torridge and West Devon (Geoffrey Cox QC MP) and the MPs from the surrounding constituencies: Selaine Saxby for North Devon, Mel Stride for Central Devon, and Scott Mann for North Cornwall, asked each to reconsider their stance when the Bill returns from the House of Lords and to show their support for British farming and local communities by supporting the Lords’ amendment.
Councillor Cottle-Hunkin said: “Our farming industry and the communities who rely on it are already facing the potential detrimental impact and uncertainties from Brexit, Coronavirus and Climate Change; the amendments to the Bill will hit not only farmers but everybody in this country. The current Bill leaves the door open to domestic standards being undercut in new trade deals and risks letting in cheaper agricultural imports, undercutting the high-welfare, healthy food which British farmers produce. Agriculture is key to the economies of Torridge and Devon and it is essential that central government fully understand the effect this amendment will have on our way of life. We hope our local elected representatives will support our farmers.”