Amendment 130

Part of Agriculture Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Randall of Uxbridge Lord Randall of Uxbridge Conservative 2:30 pm, 21st July 2020

My Lords, I will not detain you long. I have every sympathy with the impatience of the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, to get on with improving our biodiversity. However, I do not think it is feasible to bring this forward from seven to five years, so I am afraid that I cannot support that, however much I am keen for the things that we all hope for to take place.

I agree very much with my noble friend Lord Caithness. The more I have listened to our proceedings, the more respect I have for farmers—I had a great deal of respect for them before—and I can imagine what it is like facing these changes with all the uncertainty that we have just been talking about. Having been not in farming but in retail for most of my working life, I can imagine the concerns about the future. I would also say, however, that we always work to deadlines. If we extended things, we would be in a similar position, so I cannot support any extension as discussed—very eloquently—by many noble Lords.

I have put my name to Amendment 147 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, principally to emphasise my concerns over any reduction in animal welfare. I have no doubt at all that British farming has the highest standards of animal welfare in the world and I do not think for one minute that that will be negated by anything in the Bill, but I wanted to underline my concerns on that.

Again, I give my support in as far as upland farms, and to some extent some livestock in the lowlands, are some of our most precious guardians of the countryside and are really threatened by some of these measures. I urge the Government to look at this; I am sure that they will.