Government aims to cut costs and reduce burdens on farmers and food industry

Government aims to cut costs and reduce burdens on farmers and food industry

Processors and farmers will be helped significantly by government cuts to red tape, according to a report publishedby an independent group led by former NFU Director General Richard Macdonald.

Following recommendations from the Farming Regulation Taskforce Implementation Group, the government has cut unnecessary red tape whilst maintaining the UK’s high welfare, environmental and food quality standards.

George Eustice MP.

Minister, George Eustice: “Overly burdensome rules have made life difficult for farmers for too long.”

Farming Minister George Eustice said:“Regulations are important in upholding our high standards of farming, but overly burdensome rules have made life difficult for farmers for too long. By cutting red tape we’re making it easier for farmers to grow their businesses and support the rural economy. Removing unnecessary bureaucracy will let farmers get on with the job of providing high quality food while still protecting the natural environment.”

Chairman of the Farming Regulation Taskforce Implementation Group, Richard Macdonald, said: “The government has made significant progress following our initial recommendations. It has put in place the foundations of a good structure and strategy to deliver on-going regulatory improvements, which benefit both the farmer and regulators. While farmers may not feel a difference from every change and the impacts of changes may not filter through for several years, this work will make a cumulative difference to thousands of the nation’s farmers if fully implemented.”

Changes include:

  • Electronic reporting for sheep and goats is being phased in from next month which will deliver savings to the farming industry of around £500,000 over 10 years.
  • Environmental guidance it is being made easier, quicker and clearer for businesses to understand.  This is expected to reduce the time required for new businesses to understand their environmental obligations by over 80%.
  • The waste exemption guide has been simplifed, increasing online registration from around 20% to around 70%.
  • 885 members of the Environment Agency’s Pigs and Poultry Scheme have benefited from a £880 reduction in Environment Agency fees and time savings through fewer inspections as part of an earned recognition scheme.
  • Focus on results: Defra is now closer with the farming industry on EU matters.
  • To enable a accurate record of all regulation on the statute, changes to regulation will be published on via an integrated portal “Defra-Lex”.
  • Defra launched the Policy Information Management Made Simpler (PIMMS), process which ensures that better regulation issues are considered throughout policy development.
  • Inspections and earned recognition: Challenging the government to improve its risk-based targeting of inspection and enforcement activities, reducing regulatory burdens on farmers who demonstrate best practice.
  • 14 out of 31 on-farm inspection regimes give farmers and food processors the opportunity to earn recognition. Find out more here.
  • The FSA is also working with Red Tractor Assurance to implement earned recognition on animal feed from April 2014 – a scheme that could reduce on-farm inspections by 10,000 a year.
  • Data-sharing and paperwork: Championing the Task Force’s recommendations on involving stakeholders in the drafting of guidance documents, sharing more information between Defra agencies, and, where they exist, removing duplicated information requests.
  • Government communication with the industry: Overseeing a suite of government projects which are developing ways to deliver simplified and integrated environmental and regulatory messages to farmers. Encouraging Defra to support these with advice and incentives to increase uptake of best practice.
  • Animal movements: Driving forward progress on a range of measures to simplify controls and to extend the use of electronic reporting of animal movements.

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