Ex-NFU head Macdonald to lead red tape review

Regulatory red tape in food and farming is to come under scrutiny as part of a major review, agriculture minister Jim Paice has announced.

A task force, chaired by former National Farmers’ Union boss Richard Macdonald, will look at ways to reduce the regulatory burden, as well as advise on how best to achieve a risk-based system of regulation in the future.

Paice, speaking at Cereals 2010 near Royston, Cambridgeshire, yesterday (Wednesday), said: "There’s too much red tape tying up our farmers and preventing them from getting on with the business of producing our food and managing our countryside.

"That’s why we committed in the Coalition Agreement to reduce the regulatory burden on farmers by moving to a risk-based system of regulation. The burden on farming and food manufacturing businesses is not just the number of regulations, but the emphasis on process rather than outcomes.

"I'm going to ask this industry-led task force to look at the way we make and implement regulations right across the board, both at what’s already in place, and how we should do things in the future.

“I'm pleased that Richard Macdonald has agreed to head this task force, as he brings with him a unique knowledge of the farming and food industry, outstanding leadership skills and a track record of commitment to partnership working between government and industry."

Macdonald said: "I am very much looking forward to leading a task which I have long thought needs doing. It won’t be easy to achieve significant results overnight and, as well as the task force itself, I plan to consult everybody in the farming and food sector interested in working with us. Together I hope that we can make a real difference."

The task force will make its initial recommendations to government by early 2011.

The full membership of the task force will be announced in the near future, along with its terms of reference and details of how the wider farming and food sector can engage with its work.

>> New farming initiative aims to cut red tape

>> FSA to cut red tape

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