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 31 January.
The meeting was attended by Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands, Scottish Government; Lorna Slater MSP (Chair), Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity, Scottish Government; Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland Executive; and George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK Government. Lord Malcom Offord, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and David TC Davies MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales were also in attendance.
At the meeting we discussed Scottish Government’s request for an exclusion to the Internal Market Act for single use plastics where I pressed the UK Government to provide a timetable for decisions on this matter. The Northern Ireland Executive gave a presentation on their consultation for their future agriculture policy. We once again discussed supply chains and labour shortages within the EFRA sectors, where I reiterated my concerns about shortages in veterinary staff and in particular those needed by APHA and for future border checks at Welsh ports and the Northern Ireland Protocol where I pressed for clarity on whether interim measures at Irish-facing ports would be required.
There were a number of items of AOB including an update on the publication timeline of Common Frameworks, the Dimbleby Report, RCVS proposals regarding veterinary reform, seed potatoes, and the Brexit Freedoms Bill. Both frameworks and the Brexit Freedoms Bill will be substantive items at the next IMG on 21 March 2022.
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.