With the launch of DEFRA’s Taskforce on Farming Regulation Farmers Weekly spoke to five key industry figures to find out what rules they want to see the back of.
NFU director of policy
We have a long shopping list of regulations which should be scrapped or improved but, if forced to name just one, we would like to see a simplification of the regulations applying to animal movements, preserving traceability and disease prevention, but workable, understandable and consistently applied across the country.
Tenant Farmers Assocation
We would like to see fewer farm inspections. Better co-ordination between DEFRA bodies would mean multiple visits could be avoided by scheduling inspections that cover more than one issue at a time. Exemptions should also be given to farmers who already meet regulatory requirements through membership of assurance scheme such as assured grain and FABBL.
There is excessive bureaucracy of the planning system. A great number of projects fail to get off the ground because the developer gives up in frustration at the complexity and cost of the system. The result is a loss of investment, employment and wealth creation in the countryside. Nitrate Vulnerable Zones regulations are also a problem. They are so complex even the Environment Agency struggles to understand them. You are expected to read nine booklets about them and the records are duplicated time and again.
The Soil Association
The Soil Association will be calling on Richard Macdonald’s ‘redtape review’ to get rid of duplication for organic farmers between organic standards and demands from DEFRA , the Environment Agency or Natural England for the same information. For example, European organic law controls nutrient applications in organic systems. This should make the extraordinarily detailed form filling required under Nitrogen Vulnerable Zone rules unnecessary.
National Pig Association general manager
There’s a big issue about farming data. It’s captured in so many places through things like environmental permits, animal ID registration and tax. Farmers are filling out forms with exactly the same information time and time again. We need the government database to work better and remove the duplication of work that many farmers are doing. There is also more work that can be done with the Environment Agency to simplify legislation around things like Integrated Pollution Prevention Control.
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