Scheme launched to cut red tape for pig and poultry farmers

An initiative to cut red tape and reduce costs for pig and poultry farmers has been launched by the NFU and the Environment Agency.

The farm assurance scheme for pig and poultry producers who are regulated through the Environmental Permitting Regulations will save around £850 on Environment Agency charges per farm.

The scheme has been developed with Assured Food Standards and with the support of the National Pig Association, the British Poultry Council and the British Egg Industry Council.

It means just one inspection per year, instead of three, for farmers who qualify by achieving a high standard of compliance under their permit.

Certification bodies, trained by the Environment Agency, will carry out the inspections as an adjunct to the audits for Red Tractor farm assurance.

NFU acting director general Martin Haworth said: “This is a groundbreaking better regulation initiative designed to minimise the burden on the farming industry.

“Both the NFU and the Environment Agency are very conscious of the need to reduce the administrative pressures on the pig and poultry sectors, and of the need for an industry with very tight margins to be competitive.

The Environment Agency’s director of environment and business Tricia Henton said: “This initiative will save time and money for farmers with a good environmental track record. And it will give the Environment Agency more time to focus its efforts on those who pose the greatest environmental risk.”

The Environment Agency is sending letters to the some of the lowest risk farms informing them of their eligibility for the scheme.

They have also informed the certification bodies which of their customers are eligible.

The certification bodies will contact their eligible customers to offer them their services. Farmers are free to accept their offer or to continue to be inspected by the Environment Agency.