The Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (IMG EFRA) met on Monday 21 March by video conference.
The meeting was chaired by George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The attending ministers were:
- from the UK Government: George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Victoria Prentis MP, Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food; David TC Davies MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales; Conor Burns MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland.
- from the Scottish Government: Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands; Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity.
- from the Welsh Government: Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd.
- from the Northern Ireland Executive: Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The meeting opened with a discussion on key issues arising within the EFRA sectors from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All ministers strongly condemned the unprovoked and unjustified attack, which is causing suffering and loss of life. The ministers discussed the impact of the war on global supply chains and commodity prices, and potential ways to help mitigate these impacts. Ministers highlighted their continued engagement with industry, which is vital for understanding the specific issues affecting the businesses on the ground, such as fertiliser prices and the challenges facing the freight and transport sector. Supply chain issues relating to the situation with P&O Ferries was also discussed. Ministers also recognised the need to ensure effective and timely data, which would allow administrations to quickly identify and react to emerging issues wherever possible.
The Group then discussed the UK Government’s recently published Nature Green Paper for England, which aims to support the ambition to restore nature and halt species decline. Key aspects of the paper include a coherent framework for protected sites and delivery arrangements.
The next item discussed was the EFRA Common Frameworks programme. Officials informed Ministers that all but two of the provisional common frameworks have now been published with scrutiny currently underway in all of the legislatures, and this is expected to last into the autumn. It was agreed that these published versions would be used by officials while the documents are being scrutinised.
Ministers then discussed preparations for the next phase of border controls which are due to come into force from 1 July 2022.
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