Review could free farmers from inflexible regulation

23rd July 2018

An interim report into farming regulation has proposed simplifying farming regulation, with the chance to change the system as Britain leaves the EU.

The report by Dame Glenys Stacey, Chair of the Farm Inspection and Regulation Review sets out the problems of the current system, largely influenced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It reflects farmers’ frustration with inflexible rules and burdensome inspections, especially when multiple bodies are involved in the regime, often duplicating effort and intrusion.

Dame Glenys said: “Farmers have long been frustrated by the way farms are regulated. As we leave the EU, and as government sets out new expectations for farming, we have a unique opportunity to transform the way we do things.

“This interim report sets out a direction of travel for farming regulation. We do not suggest piecemeal adjustments. Instead we think more radical change is necessary, to make the most of the opportunity we have now, and to best enable farmers to produce and market food while also meeting the other expectations government has of farming.”

Aled Owen, Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ farming regulation expert, said: “We know that Brexit is going to present both opportunities and challenges for farmers, whatever the deal is; if the final arrangements reduce the regulatory burden on the sector, that will be a relief.

“But there is a balance to be struck between freedom and regulation – if we want to continue to trade with Europe, we will need to meet their standards. This won’t be a problem in many areas, where we have in fact gone further than required by the CAP, but farmers will still have to meet demanding welfare and quality standards.

“Any new regime should focus on supporting farm businesses and enabling them to continue producing safe, traceable and affordable food.”

Aled can be contacted at [email protected]