Committee calls time on Defra red tape

Published on Friday, 23 September 2011 14:15
Posted by Scott Buckler

The NFU has backed calls for Defra to rationalise its culture of over regulation, as set out in a new report today


Red tapeMP Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said that ministers now needed to set out a clear timetable for practical steps to implement the recommendations of the Farming Regulation Task Force.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond gave evidence to the Efra select committee and welcomed today’s report which said the Task Force had struck a successful balance between ‘upholding standards and over-zealous regulation’.

Much of our evidence has been reflected in the Efra committee’s review findings,” said Mr Raymond. “For us this is not about compromising standards but rather an opportunity to make regulation less burdensome for the farming sector. We would like to see a culture within Defra that understands and works with farm businesses to develop practical solutions, with regulation as a last resort. This was one of the first principles highlighted by the NFU.

“The committee rightly backs the principle of earned recognition which will enable regulators to reward good practice with less frequent inspection and we support Anne McIntosh’s recommendations on the need for earlier and greater engagement in Europe. This will help to reduce the huge farming regulatory cost burden of some £5bn each year.

“We strongly believe that a scrutiny panel is needed to implement changes to reduce red tape across all government departments, one that is independent and contains industry stakeholders.

“What we need now is a clear timetable for action.

“The Efra committee states that the Task Force report provides a framework and now needs ministers to grasp this opportunity to achieve meaningful regulatory reform. The next step must be to regulate better, to free our farmers and growers from the red tape that stifles their capabilities and impacts on their competitiveness. And above all to enable us to do what we are being called on to do: produce more food and impact less on the environment.”

Source: NFU

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