Brexit: CLA welcomes plans for certainty on regulations affecting rural businesses

03 October 2016

The CLA has welcomed plans set out by the Prime Minister to help smooth the UK’s transition out of the EU by maintaining consistency of regulation at the point of Brexit, while allowing for Parliament to make changes and determine our own laws thereafter.

Last month the CLA published a briefing paper on the EU regulations that affect rural businesses and land management. The paper underlined the importance of certainty and continuity of the majority of the regulatory framework, while also identifying a number of regulations which work poorly for the UK and should be reviewed and replaced.

CLA President Ross Murray said: "This is a common-sense plan and will provide significant reassurance to rural businesses. It provides the right balance between providing certainty and continuity, whilst opening up the possibility of significant change to unnecessary or poorly designed rules that burden farmers, land owners and other rural businesses.

"This is the right methodology for regulatory reform, we have been explicitly calling for this approach as part of our New Opportunities campaign. We look forward to working with ministers across Government to identify opportunities for change systematically and carefully, making sure that Brexit delivers on its promise of a better regulatory environment for rural businesses.”

Clarity on the Prime Minister’s approach to regulatory reform comes alongside details of a Great Repeal Act, which will extricate the UK from the EU and end the authority of all EU laws in the UK. However it will ensure that at the point of UK exit from the EU the body of EU law (called the 'aquis communitaire') that currently regulates rural businesses will transfer into UK law. The UK Parliament will then be able to repeal or reform any law currently imposed from Brussels. Legislation that will overturn the 1972 European Communities Act is set to be introduced in the next session of Parliament, following the Queen’s Speech expected in April or May of 2017.

The CLA has identified four priorities where replacing existing regulations could deliver better outcomes for the UK and reduce red tape for rural businesses:

  • UK Food, Farming and Environmental policy: Three Crop Rule –indeveloping a new policy to succeed the Common Agricultural Policy, the ‘three crop rule’ is a priority for change
  • Plant Protection Products: Licensing – introducing a transparent and less politicised process for licensing crop protection products such as gylphosate
  • Water management: Nitrates – replacing prescriptive rules with evidence-based regulations which reduce water pollution and also lessen the red tape burden
  • Buildings: Energy Performance Certificates – replacing the one-size-fits-all approach to encourage the right types of investment in energy efficiency for traditional rural properties.

New Opportunities: better outcomes and reduced burdens in a new regulatory framework’ can be found at

The CLA is running the CLA New Opportunities campaign to ensure that farming, the rural economy and the environment are treated as priorities by Government as the UK prepares for Brexit.