Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, has committed the government to improving the country’s “resilience to animal disease” by investing around £65 million in new centres for livestock, crop health and precision engineering.
“This will bring us state of the art laboratories and fund the upgrade of our bio-containment facilities at Weybridge, securing our ability to fight disease,” she told delegates today at the Oxford Farming Conference.
The minister said that Defra will invest 12% more capital this parliament to upgrade its animal and plant disease response, as well improving flood defences and modernising the organisation to improve the service it delivers for rural communities.
Setting out how Defra will deliver such resilience and reform, Ms Truss (pictured above) listed the following key priorities:
- re-making Defra so it becomes more efficient;
- giving greater control to farmers and local communities;
- investing in improving resilience, including in animal and plant disease response;
- investing in flood defences, better protecting over a million acres;
- establishing a new Great British Food Unit to drive up exports.