Press release

Agriculture red tape to be removed

The farming industry is among the latest to benefit from government’s drive to unlock economic growth by cutting unnecessary red tape.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Cutting red tape

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has today called for views on how the government can make regulation less burdensome for businesses and others in agriculture, animal health and welfare, plant health and forestry.

This is the latest group of regulations to be reviewed under the government’s Red Tape Challenge, which was launched in April 2011 to open up government regulation to the scrutiny and challenge of the public, businesses and experts. Its overarching objective is to remove unnecessary or ineffective procedures and ensure that regulations are implemented as efficiently as possible.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:

Our safeguards ensure that British businesses have a global reputation for high standards in areas like animal welfare and food safety. We are upholding these standards and making them simpler to apply.

For too long, businesses have been held back by complicated, unclear or outdated regulation. We are cutting out the time businesses are investing in unnecessary red tape, freeing them to focus their resources on growth.

Work to reduce regulatory burdens on the farming industry is already underway through the implementation of the Farming Regulation Taskforce recommendations. Farmers who consistently demonstrate high standards will be inspected less, high performance will be incentivised and unnecessary burdens reduced. The new Red Tape Challenge review will build on this work by reviewing the regulations, not just their delivery.

Richard McDonald Chair of the Farming Regulation Taskforce said:

For over two years, the better regulation group has been working with Defra to reduce the regulatory burden on farmers. This is a welcomed additional opportunity to get input from the industry on how to further reduce that burden. I would encourage all farming organisations and individuals to participate.

A particular focus of this review is to ensure that EU regulations do not impose disproportionate burdens on UK businesses. Farmers have the opportunity to share their views on EU legislation in order to inform the UK’s negotiating strategy on the new EU frameworks for animal health and plant health. Defra is also seeking views on how the new Common Agricultural Policy can be implemented in England in ways that are as simple, affordable and as effective as possible.

Defra has already reviewed around 700 regulations through the Red Tape Challenge, mainly in the food, environment, water and marine sectors, and is on course to deliver the expected £1 billion annual savings to business announced last year.

Contributions are invited through the Red Tape Challenge website or email

Published 17 July 2013