Minister pledges to slash red tape burden on farmers

A drive to slash “red tape” will reduce the burden on farmers, said Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Minister Jim Paice.

There would be fewer inspections of farms meeting high environmental and animal welfare standards and Farming Minister Mr Paice announced a “fly-tipping summit” at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) conference in Birmingham this week.

“The government wants to help create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and remove unnecessary burdens which hold back UK economic growth.

“We’re fundamentally changing the way we work with the farming industry – this is a balance of trusting farmers’ expertise and ability to do the right thing,” he added.

Ministers would adopt 159 out of more than 200 recommendations put to Defra by Richard Macdonald’s review of farming regulation. It was considering 31 more suggestions.

National Farmers’ Union deputy president Meurig Raymond said many farm businesses would be disappointed by the slow speed of delivery in the 10 months since the recommendations for cutting regulat-ion were originally published.

“Farms will be looking for regulatory burdens to be evidently lifted as soon as possible.’’

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He said now was the “time for action’’ and that the NFU would be working with the government and officials to push forward with reducing regulation.

He warned: “Farming’s experience of previous regulation commitments has not bred confidence that business, as opposed to regulators, will benefit from these proposals.”

Proposals for new rules on tractor and trailer weights were being discussed by the NFU and Department for Transport.

Mr Macdonald, who is a former director general of the NFU and led the farming regulation task force, will oversee the implementation of the commitments made by ministers.