Fed up with everybody banging on about Brexit yet? Me too. But hang on a moment because, no matter how bored you’ve got with it since the referendum 2 years ago, it turns out there’s some stuff which might gladden your heart if we handle it right after we leave.
I’m talking about Britain’s environment. Whatever your view about other things which are currently handled by Brussels, a lot of environmental groups see Brexit as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a greener and more productive new approach to our fisheries, farming and wildlife.
So when I went to visit Walborough nature reserve in Uphill last week with the Avon Wildlife Trust, I wanted to understand a lot more. If you haven’t visited Walborough recently, now’s a great time of year to go; the cowslips are out and you walk on a carpet of wild herbs, spotting wild orchids and watching house martins cleaning up the local insect population as you go.
Avon Wildlife think farming and environmental protection can work together far better once we’ve left the red-tape ridden Common Agricultural Policy (boo hiss) and the Common Fisheries Policy (even more boos and hissing). They think farming subsidies can be reformed so farmers are rewarded for delivering things like clean water, healthy soils and preserving wildlife, while still producing lots of great local food. And marine wildlife groups think Britain’s seas can be managed far more sustainably, so they produce more and healthier seafood in future too.
British fisheries and countryside would produce more, but more sustainably so we’re kinder to the environment and the wildlife we share it with. Plus we’d all pay lower prices for things we have to import anyway, like oranges or olives, because we’d be able to scrap Brussels import tariffs and mark-ups too.
As I looked out over the gorgeous views in Walborough and listened to the house martins, it was hard to disagree. It might even be worth listening to people banging on about Brexit for a bit longer too. And those are words I never thought I’d say!