7 April 2000

Plan may bring red tape relief

RED tape could be cut dramatically if the governments farm summit rhetoric is translated into action, says the NFUs head of livestock, Stephen Rossides.

Mr Rossides agreed that other than the removal of charges for dairy hygiene inspections in England, saving the industry £1m, and some significant savings on environmental legislation, the action plan offered little in the way of tangible red tape relief.

But he said there was real evidence of a change in government attitude towards the issue that has caused so much anguish for farmers in their struggle to compete on the international market.

The pledge to regulate only where necessary and to avoid all "gold-plating" of EU farming legislation was a central thrust of its action plan. There were also promises not to implement legislation ahead of specified EU deadlines and to negotiate in Brussels to minimise regulatory burdens.

Mr Rossides particularly welcomed the setting up of a group to review the principles and procedures of risk assessment used by the governments scientific committees to deal with food safety.

It was also announced that the Food Standards Agency would review the over 30-month scheme, the meat and bonemeal ban for the pig and poultry sectors and the removal and disposal of specified risk material.