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