William Eichler 30 November 2018

Councils should set up ‘food resilience teams’ to prepare for Brexit

Food policy experts are advising local authorities to set up ‘food resilience teams’ to prepare for different Brexit scenarios.

Specialists at City, University of London and University of Sussex have written to every council in the UK urging them to set up teams that can make risk assessments of how different outcomes of Brexit might affect food provision and supply in their local areas.

Written with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), the advice warns councils they will be the local actors tasked with helping limit the risk of social disorder, which has been brought on by food supply problems in the past.

The food-related risks might involve price changes, reduced food availability, lower standards and safety, supply disruption, border delays, freight logistics and public disorder.

Food resilience teams should map existing food systems in their regions and conduct rapid assessments of where risks and potential disruptions lie, according to the advice.

They should also clarify the limits to stockpiling, bring together relevant professionals and expertise, and be prepared to convey this information to the Government and public.

Erik Millstone, professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex, said: ‘The impact of Brexit on food supplies will depend on where people live. Those furthest from Channel ports will be at greatest risk of shortages, which is important for local authorities because their locations will make big differences.’

‘Whatever the outcomes of political negotiations significant change is on the horizon,’ commented Gary McFarlane, Northern Ireland director of the CIEH.

‘Local authorities will be key facilitators for both business and local communities and this document seeks to provide practical ideas that assist in that role.’

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