Yesterday I had a good meeting with Richard Benyon and Caroline Spelman, the DEFRA Ministers.
We have been trying to engage with DEFRA on a number of key issues in the last few months and fundamentally helping them to try and make their Ministry more supportive of rural communities. The old adage was that DEFRA was there to catch out farmers and not help them. That, I hope, is changing, albeit it is taking time.
We discussed everything from
- The Forestry Review [the final report from the Independent panel is confirmed to be expected in June]
- Bats and the Habitat Dierective [statement in the House on Thursday]
- the Nitrates Directive on slurry [progress is being made]
- CAP Reform [on going, as ever]
- Private Water Treatment Testing [Richard Benyon is looking into this again]
- Flooding action [lots of good work done]
and a lot more...
I am hoping to make a number of announcements to the Courant in the near future on a variety of these matters