Farmers are being urged to help lift the burden of red tape from the industry by telling government which agricultural legislation they would like abolished.


A DEFRA taskforce has launched a consultation to find ways to simplify farming regulations and help government cut costs by removing unnecessary rules.

The Taskforce on Farming Regulation – headed up by NFU ex-director general Richard Macdonald – wants ideas on how to make complex legislation easier to implement.

The consultation, which has been launched today (6 August), will aim to make life easier for producers by looking at areas of regulatory “gold-plating” and the over-implementation of rules.

DEFRA hopes simplifying legislation will also help the department make efficiency savings in light of a 33% budget cut.

Agriculture minister Caroline Spelman has already abolished 30 of DEFRA’s quangos, including the Agricultural Wages Board (News, 30 July), as part of plans to streamline the department.

She said a radical rationalisation of DEFRA’s quangos was needed as part of the government’s drive to cut costs.

Launching the red tape consultation, farm minister Jim Paice said farmers needed to be trusted to comply with regulations without burdensome rules.

“Regulations have nearly always been put in place for good reasons but not necessarily in the best way,” he said.

“There is too much red tape tying up our farmers and food businesses. I have challenged the taskforce to make recommendations that will change the culture in both government and business.

“The focus will be on outcomes, risk-based solutions and proportionate enforcement. They must think beyond ‘traditional’ regulation and enforcement, while maintaining our high public and environmental protection standards.”

Mr Macdonald said the taskforce wanted farmers to identify the problems they had with farming rules and help them find alternatives to current regulation.

How to have your say

• You can submit your suggestions of the red tape you would like to see ripped up here.
• You can also write to: Task Force on Farming Regulation Area, 8D Millbank, DEFRA, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR
• Alternatively you can post your suggestions on the Farmers Weekly forums or send us a letter
• You have until Sunday 31 October to get in touch

• For more on this story click here.