IT is good news that the Government has temporarily exempted CO2 producers from competition law to buy us another couple of months of production.

Only a few weeks ago, we saw how surprisingly crucial the gas was in the production of everything from meat to beer, and how quickly the country ran out of it.

However, this latest agreement only runs until the New Year by which time alternative supplies will need to have been lined up.

It is therefore imperative that the Government, working with industry, lines up those alternative sources.

The pandemic is the root cause of many of our problems but our own lack of foresight has not assisted. We shut off the supply of cheap foreign labourers and drivers but then did nothing to pro-actively fill in the shortfall – in fact, we seem to have deliberately created delays at the DVLA; we’ve done nothing as our private energy companies have reduced our gas storage levels to the lowest in Europe, and we haven’t developed an alternative to the coal power stations we shut with our nuclear building strategy being an incoherent mess.

Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing: who knew Brexit would lead to a shortage of vets in abattoirs?

But we do know that without C02, even though it is only a by-product of the fertiliser industry, many strands of our food and drink industries suffer, and we know that by January we need alternatives. The Government can’t be taken by surprise again.