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NCA's Chris Smith remains as chairman to fight Brexit concerns

Chris-Smith-and-Barry-MillsCHRIS SMITH HAS agreed to serve another term of office at the National Council for Aviculture (NCA) to guide the association following the Brexit vote.

Despite his previous intention to retire from the post of chairman, Mr Smith announced his decision to stay in the role until 2020 at the NCA’s AGM on April 8 in Coalville. Those present welcomed Mr Smith’s three-year term. No other nominations had been submitted for the role.

According to publicity officer Barry Mills, Mr Smith’s main reason for staying is the range of challenges birdkeeping is set to face after Brexit. He explained: “These include possible changes to border controls affecting movement of birds to and from the UK; the on-going issue of ring sizes for British native species; the possibility of birdkeepers needing to register and other legislation affecting birdkeepers, breeders and exhibitors.

“Unity within the fancy at this time is paramount to resist any negative impact of future legislation.”

Mr Mills continued: “Given that DEFRA and Natural England [NE] will only deal with national bodies rather than individual associations, it is essential that support for the NCA’s parent bodies – the Budgerigar Society, British Bird Council, Canary Council and Foreign Bird Federation – remains strong.”

This will be Mr Smith’s third term as chairman, having served for six years already.

He told Cage & Aviary Birds: “My reasons to stay were especially to do with my dealings with DEFRA and upcoming changes to legislation. I have between three or four meetings a year with DEFRA, so it is in the interest of the fancy that I stay on as chairman.

“Following Brexit, it looks at though there could be new border controls for birdkeepers and an import and export licence from DEFRA will be needed for all birds.

“I’ve recently written to NE regarding ring sizes for British native species, but as parliament is about to go into another election, this letter won’t be picked up until after the election.”

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