Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
In accordance with the inter-institutional relations agreement, I can report to Members of the Senedd that I attended the Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 21 March.
The meeting was attended by George Eustice MP (chair), Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK Government; Victoria Prentis MP, Minister of State, Defra, UK Government; Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands, Scottish Government; Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity, Scottish Government; Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland Executive; David TC Davies MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales and Connor Burns MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland were also in attendance.
At the meeting we discussed the terrible situation in Ukraine and the impacts for the production costs of fertiliser, feed, and the processing of white fish. Pet travel and quarantine concerns were also raised.
The UK Government introduced their proposals for protected site designations outlined in their Nature Green Paper. They also provided an update on the publication and scrutiny of Common Frameworks.
When discussing Border control preparations I pressed the UK Government for assurances devolved administrations would be consulted as soon as possible in the drafting of any necessary further legislation and in discussions around infrastructure funding.
The decision by the UK Government to grant an exclusion to the Internal Market Act for single use plastics was noted by all administrations. On behalf of the Minister for Climate Change I joined my Scottish Government colleagues in noting disappointment at the narrow nature of the exclusion.
There were a number of items of AOB including an update on the proposals for a Food Data and Transparency Partnership, discussions relating to the practice of using fish in fish feed for salmon in aquaculture, and Scottish Ministers raised concerns regarding Deposit Return Scheme tax issues. I also extended an invitation to members to the Royal Welsh Show in July.
A communique will be published on the UK Government website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/communique-from-the-inter-ministerial-group-for-environment-food-and-rural-affairs.