The interim report sets out the problems with the current system of regulation, largely borne out of the requirements of membership of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It finds that farmers and regulators alike are exasperated by the demands of regulation, which are unduly precise and inflexible.
The Review estimates 150,000 farm inspections are carried out each year by multiple agencies such as the Rural Payments Agency, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Natural England and local authorities to meet the strict criteria of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
The report discusses the opportunity to use a single field force to conduct more meaningful farm inspections, as part of a more flexible, proportionate regulation. A simpler and more targeted regulatory system would be an immensely powerful tool in achieving the government’s environmental objectives and supporting farmers to uphold standards.
The interim report also recommends better use of technology such as satellite imagery to check compliance. This could maximise the information gathered ahead of any inspection to support comprehensive visits for farmers and regulators alike. The Review is due to complete its work by the end of this year and will publish a final report with recommendations.
Thursday July 12, 2018/ DEFRA/United Kingdom.