Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee has called for a time limit to be placed on new Scottish Government legislation designed to allow European farm schemes to operate during the post-Brexit transition period.
As England and Wales forge ahead with their Agriculture Bill, the committee is also demanding the Scottish Government brings forward a timetable and proposals for the introduction of a new, long-term rural policy north of the border.
The recommendations are included in the committee’s Stage 1 report on the Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill, where MSPs say “additional safeguards” are required to prevent ministers from using the legislation for an indefinite period.
The Scottish Government’s legislation aims to give the industry time to trial pilot projects and test prospective rural policy ahead of a proposed new “outcome-based” approach to the calculation and allocation of farm payments in 2024 – but MSPs are anxious to see a timetable in place.
Committee chairman Edward Mountain MSP said: “It is important to stress that any substantial delay in the introduction of new policy and associated primary legislation thereafter will make it challenging for the Scottish agricultural industry to meet the commitment to achieve a 75% reduction in carbon emissions and to contribute towards the target of doubling turnover in farming, fishing, food and drink to £30 billion by 2030.”