Farming red tape to be cut back in shake-up

Farmers at the Great Yorkshire Show
Farmers at the Great Yorkshire Show
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A major simplification of the way the Government regulates farming has been proposed in an interim report from a group commissioned by Michael Gove.

The Environment Secretary – who has cancelled a visit to the Great Yorkshire Show today, with Farming Minister George Eustice taking his place – said the report was a chance to “build a new relationship between farmers and regulators” in the post-Brexit world, and said the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy had “imposed an extra bureaucratic headache on farmers, with no room to recognise innovation or good intent”.

The report from Dame Glenys Stacey, whose Farm Inspection and Regulation Review is due to publish its final recommendations in December, estimates that 50,000 farm inspections are carried out each year by different government agencies, to meet the EU’s strict criteria.

It concludes: “The way we regulate now exasperates responsible farmers and regulators alike.”

Dame Glenys added: “Farmers have long been frustrated by the way farms are regulated.

“As we leave the EU, we have a unique opportunity to transform the way we do things.”

Her findings were welcomed by senior industry figures last night. Philip Hambling, head of food and farming at the National Farmers’ Union, called it “a step in the right direction” which “rightly recognises many of the issues farmers face as a result of the current regulation and inspection regime”.

Tim Breitmeyer, president of the Country Land and Business Association, added: “Making it simpler to run a farm business post-Brexit is good news for the industry.”