The bureaucracy-busting promise was made as the independent Farming Regulation Task Force presented its recommendations for reducing the administrative burden faced by farmers and food producers. The report makes more than 200 recommendations following an extensive review of all regulations that affect farmers and food producers and the way they are implemented.
Other areas where early action will be explored include:
• applying the principals of simplifying and removing duplication to animal welfare inspections — Defra hopes to consult soon on options in this area;
• finding ways of improving record-keeping on farms in Nitrates Vulnerable Zones, for example by exempting organic farmers from record-keeping requirements;
• changing aspects of the six-day standstill arrangements so that they will no longer apply to animals moving directly between farms ;
• rationalising the allocation of County Parish Holding numbers (CPH), the system by which individual holdings are identified and allocated to farmers, so that the same rules apply to all species;
• moving away from paper-based movement reporting for sheep, through the introduction of an industry-owned database; and
• abolishing the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) links and Sole Occupancy Agreements (SOAs), which provide specific exemptions to movement reporting and six day standstills for farm animals, but add unnecessary complications to an already complex system.
The Government will now look closely at the Task Force’s other recommendations and publish an initial response this autumn with a full and final response early in 2012.