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Policy Telegram 31 March 2023

Policy Telegram w/e 31 March 2023

Each weekly Policy Telegram (PolTel) delivers a concise summary briefing of the key Government policy developments and notable research releases that are most critical for Cornwall Council

Policy Update 



27/3/23 – £9.13 million awarded to develop cutting-edge farming technology


The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has announced that three cutting-edge projects will receive a share of £9.13 million in government funding to carry out research and development on proposals to boost agricultural productivity, sustainability and climate resilience.


The funding will support projects developing robotic crop harvesting for horticulture, an autonomous system to change cows’ bedding to improve their health, welfare and productivity, and a more environmentally friendly approach to potato cultivation.

23/3/23 - New legislation unlocks key technologies to improve UK food security, reduce pesticide use, and enhance climate-resilience in our crops


The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act passed into law on Thursday 23 March. 


The Act will set in motion changes to allow farmers to grow crops which are drought and disease resistant, reduce use of fertilisers and pesticides, and help breed animals that are protected from catching harmful diseases. Precision breeding involves using technologies such as gene editing to adapt the genetic code of organisms – creating beneficial traits in plants that through traditional, breeding would take decades to achieve. This enables scientists to safely create foods that are more flexible, adaptable and plentiful for years to come.


Under the provisions of this Act, a new science-based and streamlined regulatory system will be introduced to facilitate greater research and innovation in precision breeding - with stricter regulations remaining in place for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Alcohol Duty


23/3/23 - Reform of the Alcohol Duty System


The Alcohol system has been reformed, establishing common tax bands based on strength and introduces 2 new reliefs and a temporary easement for the wine industry.


Measures introduced have been:

  • To replace previous methods for working out Alcohol Duty with a standard method for all alcohol products, based on the litres of pure alcohol they contain.
  • To replace provisions in existing primary legislation and removes outdated provisions
  • To replace and extend the Small Brewers Relief, with Small Producer Relief (small businesses who produce qualifying alcoholic products will be eligible for reduced rates of Alcohol Duty).
  • To introduce a new Draught Relief to reduce the tax burden on products sold in on-trade venues, such as pubs.

To introduce temporary provisions for qualifying wine products for 18 months, to manage the transition to the new method of calculating Alcohol Duty.

Anti-Social Behaviour


27/3/23 - Action plan to crack down on anti-social behaviour and restore pride in communities released


The new Plan aims to strengthen early intervention and prevention, build community pride and wellbeing through cleaner, safer public spaces and introduces additional powers for police and local authorities.


Key points:

  • A strong focus on early intervention with young people ‘at risk’ and increasing opportunities to engage in positive local activities and support. 
  • Councils will be given funding to regenerate local parks and green spaces, and new powers to revive high streets through bringing empty shops back into use.
  • A new digital tool for members of the public to report anti-social behaviour simply and easily and a clear route to challenge an unsatisfactory response.
  • Increased use of restorative justice for anti-social behaviour, such as cleaning up community spaces, and enabling this to happen more quickly.
  • Councils will be able to issue higher fines for graffiti, littering and fly-tipping.
  • Housing associations and landlords will be given more powers to evict people who are persistently anti-social.
  • New tools will help police and local partners to direct vulnerable people on the streets to the support that they need, with changes to the law to reduce more visible issues such as begging.
  • New measures that aim to reduce drug-related anti-social behaviour, including expanding drug testing on arrest and banning nitrous oxide to reduce littering.


Education Investment Areas


28/3/23 - Education investment area (EIA) trust development statements (TDS)


Policy paper detailing the educational context and priorities for developing a system led by academy trusts in Education Investment Areas (EIA).  The documents are written for schools or trusts, dioceses, groups looking or expand existing trusts or form a new academy trust.



23/3/23 – Guidance published for providing supported accommodation


The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance to the regulations on providing supported accommodation for children and young people. It includes the quality standards that all supported accommodation providers must meet.


The guidance comes following a consultation that was run on the proposed regulation and guidance for supported accommodation for looked after children (LAC) and care leavers aged 16 and 17, which ran from December 2022 to January 2023.




28/3/23 - UK space sector income reaches £17.5 billion as jobs and services grow


New figures in the latest Size & Health of the UK Space Industry report reveal that income from the UK space sector grew by almost £1 billion in 2021. Revenue went from £16.5bn in 2020 to £17.5bn in 2021. Employment increased by almost 1,800 more jobs across the sector, with the number of space organisations now totalling at almost 300.


National Insurance


24/3/23 – Voluntary National Insurance contributions deadline has been extended 


The deadline for paying voluntary National Insurance contributions has been extended from 5 April 2023 to 31 July 2023. It also applies to individuals who want to fill gaps in their National Insurance record from 6 April 2006 to 5 April 2017.









28/3/23 - Review of Environmental Assessment Levels (EALs) for emissions to air: second phase


Consultation on the revision of 13 existing EALs.


The Environment Agency uses EALs to judge the acceptability of proposed emissions to air from industrial sites, and their relative contribution to the environment. EALs represent a pollutant concentration in ambient air at which no appreciable risks or minimal risks to human health are expected.

20 June 2023


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