New Task Force to Cut Farmers’ Red Tape

UK - Agriculture and Food Minister Jim Paice today set out how the new Task Force on Farming Regulation will work to reduce the bureaucratic burdens that English farmers and food producers face.
calendar icon 9 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The Minister also announced the membership of the Task Force that will take this work forward. Led by Richard Macdonald, it includes individuals with wide experience in farming and growing, retail, food processing, conservation, private and public sector management, and regulatory implementation and enforcement.

The Task Force has been asked to identify ways to reduce this burden on farmers and food processors by reviewing regulations and their implementation. They will advise how best to achieve a risk-based system of enforcement whilst maintaining high environmental, welfare and safety standards. Their work will cover:

  • farming (including horticulture)
  • food issues as they apply on farm
  • food processing where farmer and processor interests overlap, and
  • processing of farmed produce.

The group will focus on identifying and making recommendations on:

  • unnecessary measures, which might be revoked or, if EU-based, re-negotiated
  • alternative approaches that could reduce the burden of existing regulations – removing ‘gold-plating’, and
  • disproportionate or overly complex implementation and enforcement that could be made more simple, empathetic, risk-based and outcome driven.

Minister Paice said: “We need to target the red tape that ties up our farmers and food businesses and trust in their ability to get on with the business of producing our food, managing our countryside and contributing to our economic recovery

“I want the Task Force to transform how we implement and enforce regulations so that the role of Government becomes supportive rather than prescriptive.”

The members of the Task Force are: Richard Macdonald (Chair), Judith Donovan, William Goodwin, John Healey, Heather Jenkins, Richard Percy, Marion Regan, Andy Robertson, and Steve Tapper.

Richard Macdonald, former Director General of the National Farmers Union, and Task Force chair, said: “I am delighted to be asked to lead such a dynamic and diverse team in this long overdue task. We cannot expect instant results and we will need to be radical and innovative in our thinking. We look forward to receiving ideas from across the farming and food sector, and together I hope that we can make a real difference.”

The Task Force will first meet in July and report early in 2011, although issues of significant concern will be raised with Ministers as soon as they arise.

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