MPs call on Defra to cut EU red tape
Published:  26 September, 2011

MPs have called on Defra to back the findings of an independent farming regulation task force which aims to cut the EU red tape currently stifling UK farmers.

In May, the task force published a review of Defra’s farming and food regulations, demonstrating the balance of maintaining high standards without burdensome regulation. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has now recommended the swift implementation of the suggestions, saying it eagerly awaits a timetable of practical steps to cut back on unnecessary EU regulations. It also called for the removal of ‘gold-plating’, whereby terms of EU directives are exceeded during implementation, with MPs having greater powers to scrutinise legislation that establishes new regulations.  

Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Anne McIntosh said: “Defra estimates the direct cost of current regulation is upwards of £5bn each year. Yet over half of all Defra’s regulations come from EU requirements.
“It is essential that Defra engages earlier and more proactively in Europe to reduce the cost burden imposed by EU regulations in future. It must also ensure that adequate staff resources are available to deliver this engagement.”
“Defra needs a cultural change in its approach to regulation and enforcement. It needs to develop a risk-based approach to inspection that will target those farms that demonstrate the greatest risk of non-compliance with farm regulation.”

>EU policy threatens UK farming

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