New EA system should cut need for multiple inspections

A new ‘streamlined’ farm inspection system launched by the Environment Agency this week promises to remove the need for multiple farm inspections.

The Farm Assessment and Regulatory Management System is a computerised system that the EA’s 200+ officers in England and Wales will use to simultaneously assess all the different regulations that apply to a particular farm.

It uses the same risk-based criteria that have been used previously – such as farm location, size, type, historical inspection reports, involvement with farm assurance, etc – to create an individual risk score for each farm.

By combining this information with data on all other permits and regulations that relate to that individual farm, a bespoke risk-assessment form can be developed and saved on a central database. This can then be used to more efficiently identify high-risk farms that need inspecting more regularly.

With around 162,000 farms in England and Wales requiring permits or registration on up to ten different regulations, many farms have historically been subject to separate visits by different inspectors in order to determine compliance.

But the new inspection system will remove this need for multiple visits and could double the EA’s inspection efficiency, a spokesperson said.