Brexit plans ‘could see swathes of up­land Dales turned to scrub’

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE -

THE UN­MIS­TAK­ABLE land­scape of the Yorkshire Dales could be lost to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions if farm­ers re­treat from the hills in the wake of the Gov­ern­ment’s blue­print for agri­cul­ture af­ter Brexit, ex­perts warned last night.

Fears that swathes of the up­lands might be left to turn to scrub have been fu­elled by in­cen­tives in the draft Agri­cul­ture Bill which give pri­or­ity to the en­vi­ron­ment over an­i­mal graz­ing.

The pol­icy will see the ba­sic sub­si­dies on which hill farm­ers have tra­di­tion­ally de­pended phased out over the next decade.

Joe Bon­ner, head of the ru­ral business re­search unit at Askham Bryan Col­lege in York, told The

Yorkshire Post: “You go up into the Dales and the land­scape looks the way it does be­cause of the farm­ers who man­age the land.

“If the sup­port wasn’t there, that would change, and there’s a so­cial side to that. Would you still get the same num­ber of tourists if the Dales were cov­ered with trees?”

He added: “You have a lot of farm­ers mak­ing very lit­tle money and that’s re­ally not sus­tain­able.”

Mean­while, Labour has said it is un­likely to back any Brexit deal Theresa May se­cures from Brus­sels.

Shadow For­eign Sec­re­tary Emily Thorn­berry, an ally of Jeremy Cor­byn, said she could not see the Prime Min­is­ter com­ing back with an agree­ment that would meet the party’s “six tests”.

Ms Thorn­berry said Labour would not vote for a “flimsy bit of pa­per” sim­ply be­cause the Gov­ern­ment said the al­ter­na­tive was no-deal.

A party source said its po­si­tion had not changed and that Ms Thorn­berry was sim­ply be­ing “scep­ti­cal” about the Gov­ern­ment reach­ing an agree­ment.

Nev­er­the­less her com­ments add to the pres­sure on Mrs May who is fac­ing op­po­si­tion to her Che­quers blue­print for leav­ing the EU from Tory Brex­i­teers. Down­ing Street is hop­ing that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit will force crit­ics to fall in line.

With­out sup­port from at least some op­po­si­tion MPs, the Gov­ern­ment may strug­gle to get any agree­ment through Par­lia­ment.

BUSI­NESS­WOMAN GINA Miller has launched a na­tional cam­paign to “end the chaos” of Brexit by pub­lish­ing “un­spun facts” so peo­ple can de­cide for them­selves what they want to hap­pen next.

An­nounc­ing plans in Dover yes­ter­day, she crit­i­cised the po­lit­i­cal in­fight­ing and “bit­ter ten­sions” over Brexit that have taken a grip of Westminster.

She promised to pub­lish “im­par­tial” in­for­ma­tion to “dis­in­fect the poi­sonous and un­pro­duc­tive” Brexit de­bates the coun­try is “sick of ”.

The 53-year-old, who won a High Court case against the Gov­ern­ment to en­sure Par­lia­ment had to ap­prove the trig­ger­ing of Brexit, has over the last two months trav­elled the coun­try speak­ing to Bri­tons from “ev­ery back­ground and walk of life” to ask them what they think the out­come of the process should be.

She said her in­quiries re­vealed peo­ple were “yearn­ing for un­spun facts” free from “ide­o­log­i­cal jar­gon”, adding: “We will aim to pro­vide these in an un­der­stand­able, hon­est and im­par­tial man­ner.”

A web­site, www.endthechaos.co.uk, will help peo­ple make their “own trusted judg­ments”, she said.

The cam­paign was prompted by a “to­tal lack of clar­ity” over Brexit, she said.

Ms Miller went on: “To­day there are just 196 days to go un­til our sched­uled de­par­ture from the Euro­pean Union.

“Ev­ery day, the hour glass runs emp­tier, the clock ticks more loudly.

“But where is that set­tled plan that we were once promised would be so easy?

“What lit­tle con­fi­dence there might once have been is now, sadly, in very short sup­ply.

“There is a panic in the air – and time is fast run­ning out.

“Many Bri­tons, ir­re­spec­tive of whether they voted Leave or Re­main on June 23, 2016, are be­gin­ning to won­der how this jour­ney will end.

“The re­al­ity is that no one truly un­der­stands what Brexit means for Bri­tain.”

GINA MILLER: Said peo­ple were ‘yearn­ing for un­spun facts’ free from ‘ide­o­log­i­cal jar­gon’.

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