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CAP reform implementation

by 5m Editor
30 March 2004, at 12:00am

UK - Consultation on proposed and possible measures for implementation of cross compliance in England (Single Payment Scheme) by Defra.

CAP reform implementation - UK - Consultation on proposed and possible measures for implementation of cross compliance in England (Single Payment Scheme) by Defra.

Purpose

This consultation seeks views on proposed and possible measures for implementing cross compliance. There will be a separate consultation on other elements of the Single Payment Scheme in England with regard to the operation of a National Reserve, and the initial allocation of entitlements.

The June 2003 agreement

The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy agreed on 26 June 2003 represents a significant step towards a more sustainable future for farming. Decoupling subsidy from production represents a real sea change from the past and a major prize that will benefit the whole industry. It will leave farmers free to produce what the market and consumers want rather than what subsidy regimes dictate, and it will reduce the environmental impact of farming by removing an incentive to intensify production and by linking subsidy to compliance with environmental and other standards.

The role of consultation in implementation of the reforms

Throughout the process of the CAP Reform discussions, Defra has sought public opinion both to inform negotiations in Europe, and the implementation process in England. In addition to formal public consultations, interested parties have been able to provide comments and ideas in various ways including attendance at stakeholder group meetings both with Ministers and senior officials; a series of workshops about cross compliance; one to one meetings with representational organisations; correspondence with the department; and other informal contact with those involved in the implementation of the reforms. Three public consultations have so far taken place during the latest CAP reform process at the following key stages:

  • in 2002 when, on 10 July, the Commission issued a discussion document detailing their reform proposals;

  • following the Commission's publication of draft legislation on 22 January 2003; and

  • most recently when the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers reached agreement on 26 June 2003.

In the last of these consultations, which ended in October 2003, we requested your comments on some of the key strategic issues raised by the reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy. These issues included the basis for the allocation of entitlements and the use of the national envelope provision. In the light of your responses, recent Ministerial decisions on a range of issues, and the publication by the European Commission of draft detailed rules covering the reforms, we now seek your views on the proposed and possible measures available to us in order to implement Cross Compliance. These measures are set out in full in the accompanying consultation paper are summarised below.

Commission implementing rules

Concurrently with this consultation, discussions are progressing in Brussels on detailed implementing rules that will set out the operational requirements for the new scheme. From time to time we have been contacting key stakeholders on these discussions. As events in Brussels often move very quickly, it is necessary to gauge views rapidly and we try to involve as many as possible in that process. But it is possible that these events in some cases will overtake this consultation. The sooner we know your views, the more chance there is that they can be taken into account, so please feel free to make an early response. We will aim to provide key updates on the ongoing discussions on the dedicated website:
www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/capsingle-payment/index.htm.

This consultation applies only to the implementation of the agreement in England. Agriculture Departments of the Devolved Administrations are making their own arrangements for consultation in their areas.

Ministerial decisions on Cross Compliance measures

As an integral part of the CAP Reform, Cross Compliance will help increase the sustainability of agriculture and the environmental performance of farmers - by providing an incentive to meet a range of new and existing requirements. For the first time, and as a condition of receiving the Single Payment, farmers will need to keep their land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC). This will set baseline standards for the protection and management of soils and will also help reduce damage to habitats and landscape features. In turn these measures will also support our efforts to control diffuse water pollution from agriculture.

Those who claim the single payment will also be required to meet the Statutory Management Requirements (SMR) - a range of existing environmental, public and plant health and animal health and welfare conditions set out in 18 EU Directives and Regulations.

Member States are required to establish an inspection and enforcement system and penalties will apply to those single payment claimants who do not meet these GAEC and SMR conditions.

We would like your views on the proposed and possible measures for GAEC and SMR referred to above. The requirements will apply to all farmers in England claiming the single payment. In particular we invite comments on proposed and possible measures relating to GAEC. Your views and supporting information will form part of the evidence base which Ministers will consider carefully before reaching a final decision on cross compliance measures.

Assessing the impact of the new regulations (Regulatory Impact Assessment)

A partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) has been produced for the proposed and possible Cross Compliance measures to accompany this consultation exercise and will be accessable on our website shortly. The partial RIA is also available in hard copy by post from the address below (please mark envelopes: "Cross compliance RIA request"). Comments, contributions on likely costs of implementation, and suggestions for improvement are sought. The final version of the Cross Compliance RIA will accompany the Statutory Instruments that Ministers will sign off to implement the CAP reforms in England.

Code of Practice on Consultations

Government consultation exercises have to apply six key principles. These are listed below and are described more fully on the Cabinet Office website
http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation/Consultation/Code.htm

They are: -

  1. Consult widely throughout the process, allowing a minimum of 12 weeks for written consultation at least once during the development of the policy.

  2. Be clear about what the proposals are, who may be affected, what questions are being asked and the timescale for responses.

  3. Ensure that the consultation is clear, concise and widely accessible.

  4. Give feedback regarding the responses received and how the consultation process influenced the policy.

  5. Monitor the department's effectiveness at consultation, including through the use of a designated consultation co-ordinator.

  6. Ensure the consultation follows better regulation best practice, including carrying out a Regulatory Impact Assessment if appropriate.

Further Information

We are writing to you following the interest you showed by responding to the previous consultation exercise. This letter is also available on the Defra website or by writing to the Mr David de Borja, Cross Compliance Consultation, Area 5C, 9 Millbank, C/O Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1A 3JR. Please email your response to [email protected] or send it to the above address.

Comments must be received by Sunday 20 June 2004. However, as mentioned above it would be helpful if you could let us have any initial comments as soon as possible so that your views can be taken into account in our discussions in Brussels.

A pro-forma is included for your response if you wish to use it. This would help us to deal swiftly with your contribution.

At the end of the consultation period we intend to make copies of the comments received publicly available. We will assume that your reply may be made available unless you indicate clearly that you wish part or all of it to be excluded from this arrangement. This indication needs to be specific, not just a standard comment in an email sign-off. The main Defra library which is located on the Lower Ground Floor of Ergon House, Horseferry Road, LONDON, SW1P 2AL (Tel: 020 7238 6575) will supply copies on request. An administrative charge will be made to cover copying and postage. To enable requests to be dealt with efficiently and to avoid undue delay for those calling at the Library in person, it would be appreciated if personal callers could give the Library at least 24 hours notice of their requirements.

Data Protection Act: information provided by respondents to this consultation exercise will be held and used for the purposes of the administration of this current exercise. If you submit comments in response to this consultation exercise we may keep your name and address on a list to be used for future consultation exercises on related topics.

Richard Findon
Project Manager - Cross Compliance
Sustainable Agriculture Strategy Division

Source: Defra - 29th March 2004

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