Janet Dwyer wrote a report for the Public Policy Institute for Wales, highlighting the challenges and opportunities for agriculture and rural areas in Wales that could result from Brexit

Since the EU Referendum on 23rd June 2016, the CCRI has retained active engagement with current policy and the Brexit process.

We recently reported that a report written by CCRI Director, Janet Dwyer, for the Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW), entitled The Implications of Brexit for Agriculture, Rural Areas and Land Use in Wales, had been published. The report – an informative think-piece aimed at ongoing policy development – was developed in discussion with the Welsh Government and a number of its stakeholder groups. It brought together a focused analysis of the current state of agriculture and rural areas in Wales in the context of the Brexit process and identifies a number of implications and suggested priorities for the Welsh Government.

This report has now been cited in different media, including today’s (5th February) BBC News. Janet was also interviewed by BBC Wales (Listen from 1.06.37) on 5th February 2018. It was also reported in Farming UK on 16th January.

The report highlights the need to actively manage challenges associated with Brexit to avoid lasting damage to Welsh natural capital, landscape quality and community identity. It makes a number of recommendations to overcome these potential challenges. These include investing in better business planning and adjustment; careful succession planning for farms and small rural businesses; and policies to strengthen health and social services for those in the most remote areas. The overarching message was that a “one size fits all” policy for the Welsh rural economy after Brexit will not work.

Janet told the BBC that:

“People need to be more willing to think outside the box, to think about working together, think about understanding the way in which one person’s business affects what other people do because farming affects the landscape, which affects tourism, which is an important sector in Wales, so a lot of these things are connected.”

Janet drew on her experience working with a network on Exmoor in Somerset and Devon, and said that this was a good example of different groups in rural life working well together. Janet  worked with the farmer-led steering group of the Exmoor Hill Farming Network (EHFN), to help them produce a position statement following discussions in late 2016 regarding the implications of Brexit. It put forward a future vision for a reshaped agriculture policy for Exmoor. You can read the full position statement here or find out more about the EHFN by visiting their website.

Janet is also a member of the Uplands Alliance, formed in 2015 to help protect Britain’s uplands. The Uplands Alliance aims to promote better communication between practitioners, researchers and policy makers with a view to improving the sustainability of the English uplands and their management.

The PPIW is a think-tank co-funded by the Welsh Government and Economic and Social Research Council.

Janet is now looking forward to further developing ideas from the latest report for the PPIW at CCRI’s own ‘Growing the Future’ event, which seeks to identify priorities for policy thinking and ultimately action. More details about this free event, to be held on Thursday 29th March at the University of Gloucestershire, can be found on our Eventbrite page, where you can also book your free place. Places are limited, so first come first served!

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