A Holyrood committee has issued a public call for evidence on proposed legislation which would allow the continued operation of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) during a post-Brexit transition period.

The Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee is inviting comments from farmers, crofters and other interested parties on the Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill, which was recently introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The bill seeks to maintain the operation of current CAP schemes beyond 2020, but would also allow the Scottish Government to make amendments and improvements to these schemes over a five-year transition period following the UK’s anticipated departure from the EU, as well as piloting potential new approaches to rural support.

Additionally, it provides the legal powers for ministers to be able to collect information from persons carrying out an “agricultural activity” or connected with an “agri-food supply chain”, with a view to informing the development of longer-term rural policy.

Committee convener Edward Mountain MSP commented:

“The purpose of this Bill is to maintain existing EU Common Agricultural Policy schemes for a transition period of around five years following Brexit. But it also gives Ministers regulation-making powers to simplify or improve these schemes during that period and to pilot new approaches to rural support.

“The legislation will also provide new powers for the collection of agricultural data to help inform the development of future rural policy.

“The Committee is eager to hear rural communities’ and other stakeholders’ views on the provisions of the Bill and the extent to which these match their expectations from the proposals set out in the Scottish Government’s recent ‘Stability and Simplicity’ consultation paper.”

Click here to see the call for evidence. The deadline for responses is Friday 3 January 2020.