As a former Environment Secretary, and now as Business Secretary, I know what a vital role our farmers and food producers play not only in the UK economy but also in protecting wildlife and supporting our countryside.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting my constituent David Goodwin at his South Northamptonshire farm, where he kindly hosted a meeting for several local farm businesses and representatives from the NFU. I’d last visited David’s farm when I was at Defra, and was delighted to be able to return.
In a wide-ranging conversation, we discussed the Government’s commitment to delivering Brexit and, importantly, ensuring that our departure is as smooth and orderly as possible in every eventuality, as well as the opportunities for British farmers like David to grow more, sell more, and export more great British produce, once we leave the EU and secure trade deals around the world.
We also discussed another topic vitally important to my constituents, HS2. The project is already having an impact on farming land locally, and we discussed concerns about the way HS2 Ltd is handling compensation payments and mitigation works. Specifically, David and others raised their very serious concerns about the effect that the construction of the line and enabling works would have on local wildlife and the threat of spreading Bovine TB, which is made possible when badger colonies are forced by development and other local factors into the land occupied by another colony.
I know that there are many others along the line-of-route in South Northants who are deeply concerned about these issues, and I have put them to the Secretary of State. I continue to call, on behalf of all those constituents who have been in touch, for a halt to all enabling works pending the outcome of the Oakervee Review into the project, and was delighted that the Transport Secretary announced a stoppage to the clearance of ancient woodland.
As ever, please do contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns: email@example.com