Attendees and apologies
- Lesley Griffiths MS/AS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales and Trefnydd from the Welsh Government
- Rebecca Pow MP, Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience
- Mark Spencer MP, Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries
- James Davies MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales
- John Lamont MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the Scotland Office
- Steve Baker MP, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office all from the UK Government
- Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Scottish Government
- Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity, Scottish Government
- Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, attended on behalf of the Northern Ireland Civil Service
- Secretary of State
Items and actions
The Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (IMG EFRA) met on Monday 6 March 2023 by video conference.
The meeting was chaired by Minister Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales and Trefnydd.
In the absence of Northern Ireland ministers, Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, attended on behalf of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. The absence of the Secretary of State, on business in South America, was noted.
The meeting opened with a discussion on the Retained EU Law) Bill which is currently at committee stage in the House of Lords. Ministers updated on their respective administrations’ progress with this work, discussed plans for the related parliamentary programmes to retain, repeal or reform individual items of legislation as appropriate, and commended the positive engagement between the administrations in this area.
Minister Slater reiterated how an exclusion from the UK Internal Market Act, with a broad scope to cover all deposit return schemes across the UK but, at a minimum, an exclusion for Scotland’s deposit return scheme regulations, is needed in advance of the Scottish scheme launch on 16 August. Scottish Ministers pressed Defra Ministers now for a decision regarding their support for an exclusion and a timeline for when a final UK Government position may be reached. Defra Ministers acknowledged that Scottish Ministers have fully followed the agreed processes, that the relevant Common Framework had agreed to seek ministerial views on its recommendations of an exclusion, while also highlighting Defra’s need to progress with seeking agreement internally as set out in the process for considering UK IMA exclusions in Common Framework areas.
Ministers then discussed the current shortages of particular food items being experienced in parts of the UK, and the wider issue of food security more generally. Ministers discussed the effects of climate change, as well as the cumulative effects of issues such as energy prices, labour shortages and the war in Ukraine, on food supply chains and the need for risk mitigations going forward. It was agreed to discuss this further at the next meeting in April.
Finally, Welsh and Scottish Ministers raised the lack of progress on various pieces of animal welfare legislation and asked for an update on this at the earliest convenience.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback