Flooding, American XL Bullies and Avian Influenza were all high on the agenda when Dr Hudson and the EFRA Committee quizzed the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, and the Department’s Permanent Secretary, Tamara Finkelstein on the pressing issues for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
This questioning took place at the EFRA Select Committee evidence session into the work of DEFRA where a cross-party group of MPs scrutinised spending, efficacy and priorities of the Government Department.
Dr Hudson began his contributions by paying tribute to the incredible work being undertaken by the Environment Agency and the Animal and Plant Health Agency during the respective flooding and Avian Influenza crises. Their teams work around the clock during incidents of acute urgency to keep people and the nation’s biosecurity safe.
Dr Hudson was keen to reinforce his support for the Animal and Plant Health Agency which acts as the UK’s line of defence against animal disease outbreaks. Recently he led an EFRA delegation to their biosecurity hub in Weybridge to draw attention to the much-needed upgrades required to keep the organisation resilient. Read more about the full issue here.
Since then, Government has allocated funds for initial redevelopment and Dr Hudson asked the Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary on progress. Both the Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary were behind Dr Hudson in his calls and the Department is working at pace to complete upgrades.
Speaking afterwards, Dr Hudson said:
“DEFRA is such a critical Department – overseeing the food we eat, the air we breath and the land we live on. It is therefore pivotal that Parliament has oversight and I must thank the Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary for their cooperation with our Committee and in making the Department as strong and effective as it can possible be.
“Having been in the frontline as a vet in the Foot and Mouth crisis, one of the biggest animal disease outbreaks the country has ever witnessed I was again keen to focus attention on the APHA and its Weybridge HQ. I was incredibly pleased to hear progress is being made at pace and I would again urge Ministers to remain vigilant of the incredible work the APHA does and provide them all available resources to carry out their duty.”