Councils advised to set up ‘food resilience teams’

A number of food policy experts have written to every council in the UK advising them to set up ‘food resilience teams’ to prepare for different Brexit scenarios.

The specialists at City, University of London, University of Sussex and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, say that local authorities should consider creating the food resilience teams to make risk assessments of how different outcomes of Brexit might affect food provision and supply in their local areas.

Marking the latest in the Food Brexit Briefing series from the Food Research Collaboration, the briefing advises that councils will have a role to play as the local voice and ears to help limit the risk of social disorder, which has been brought on by food supply problems in the past.

The advice notice suggests food resilience teams should map existing food systems in their regions, conduct rapid assessments of where risks and potential disruptions lie, clarify the limits to stockpiling and bring together relevant professionals and expertise.

According to the notice, every form of Brexit will affect the food system in some way, particularly a no-deal scenario. Several food risks are highlighted, including: price changes, reduced food availability, lower standards and safety, supply disruption, border delays, freight logistics and public disorder.

Tony Lewis, head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said: “Local authorities have been asking us for practical advice on how to prepare for a food Brexit – this document contains that advice.”

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.”

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