Minister promises 'bold' stance on bureaucracy

UK FARMING minister, Jim Paice, yesterday promised to be "bold" in taking on the challenge issued to his government in reducing the amount of red tape wrapped around the farming industry in England and Wales.

In presenting the Farming Regulation Task Force report with its more than 200 recommendations, chairman Richard McDonald challenged the government to "establish an entirely new culture of regulation" to ease the burden on farmers.

The former NFU director general believed if the report was translated into action it could have a profound impact on the way businesses operated.

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Among the headlines are recommendations to adopt a new risk-based approach to inspection, particularly for cross compliance. This would be based on the concept of "earned recognition" where "low-risk" farmers who demonstrate compliance with the rules through, for example, membership of farm assurance schemes, benefit from reduced inspection.

The report calls on ministers to "trust industry" and involve it in the development of regulations. It urges Defra to "change the focus" from the "culture of tick-box regulation to delivering real results" and calls for government inspection and enforcement to become "more efficient and more effective".