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Farmers and food processors only have a few weeks left to put forward ideas and solutions to get rid of red tape.
The public consultation for the Farming Regulation Task Force is due to end on 31 October 2010.
Richard Macdonald, Farming Regulation Task Force Chair, said
“The Task Force has been charged with finding ways to completely change the culture of regulation and our consultation has already identified a number of priority issues. But we want to be absolutely sure that these are based on the real world of agriculture and food processing - to do this we need ideas and suggestions from people who experience this red tape every day and they only have until 31 October to tell us.”
“This is your chance to influence how regulation impacts on farmers - so please seize the opportunity with both hands.”
Priority issues identified by the Task Force include: cross-compliance, the EU Fruit & Vegetable regime, livestock identification and movement requirements; dairy hygiene inspections and meat hygiene controls. But there are others that industry is beginning to identify.
One recurring theme is the inspections regime that all farmers and food producers face, for example:
- the inspection regime for cross compliance under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is seen as complex, disproportionate and inflexible. It involves up to three inspection visits and several Government inspectorates to assess whether a farmer is compliant with all the environment and other standards a farmer must meet;
- the inspection and audit programmes for central Government inspectors, local authority inspectors and private sector often overlap. In particular farmers mention repeat inspections of animal identification and movement records; and
- dairy hygiene inspections are just one example where assessment is duplicated by official inspectors and private sector audit.
Richard Macdonald continued:
“Reducing the number of inspections - or making them smarter - would make a big difference to England’s farmers and food producers. In the Task Force’s emerging view, inspections must be more risk-based, focusing on organisations that are at greater risk of breaching regulations and trusting those that have proven track records. There must surely be a way that Government can trust private sectors auditors - and farmers - more.”
Evidence can be submitted online at engage.defra.gov.uk/farm-regulation/ Written submissions can be sent to FarmRegulationTaskForce@defra.gsi.gov.uk or to Task Force on Farming Regulation, Area 8D Millbank, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR. All comments will be captured and recorded in summary in the Task Force’s final report in 2011.
The Task Force on Farming Regulation was announced by Jim Paice at Cereals 2010 on 9 June 2010.
Full Terms of Reference and details of Task Force members can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/2010/07/09/farm-review/