Save our Standards Action Day outside Hexham Mart

Natalie Bennett and John Powell at Hexham Mart today

Today a group of Tynedale locals from North East for Europe are taking part in an Action Day for Farmers outside of Hexham Mart.

The group has become increasingly aware of the difficulties farmers face in the current climate due to Brexit and government policy.

North East for Europe, which is part of the European Movement, joins other groups across the country this week with the message #SaveOurStandards.

They are in Hexham today to coincide with the Northern Farming Conference.

Save our Standards

The group is standing outside Hexham Mart to show their support for local farmers. The conference theme is ‘A fresh start – farming beyond Brexit, BPS and Covid-19’ (BPS = Basic Payment Scheme)’.

Their plan is to canvas opinion, asking people’s opinions. They are also giving out leaflets about the Australia trade deal.

Robina Jacobson said:

“The herbicide Paraquat has been banned in the UK since 2007 under EU law, it is highly toxic to humans, and I am very worried about the food and farming deal made with Australia where its use is legal.  Is this a precedent for more deals with other countries who have not banned the use of dangerous Paraquat?”  

Placards and banners display messages such as

“Help farms please!”

“Save our Standards”

“Save British Farming”

Natalie Bennett, who used to be leader of the Green Party and is now in the House of Lords, mentioned the group in her speech at the conference, said that it was unusual to have a demonstration outside who were there in support.

Tim Farron, ex-leader of the LibDems gave a smile and thumbs up and took a leaflet!

John Powell, a member of the group, who used to work in business commented:

“When I exported, it was essential to supply what the customer wanted, and meet the standards of his market. Why try to enforce the suppliers? Is that even good business?”

Kim Sanderson, North East for Europe spokesperson said:

“We stood outside Hexham Mart today to show that we support the farmers and upholding current food and farming standards. We are concerned that the UK government’s trade deal will let in agricultural goods produced to lower standards.”

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