Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Leadsom promises 'bonfire of controls'

Defra secretary Andrea Leadsom has promised a 'bonfire of controls' at the Oxford Farming Conference with a 'slash and burn' approach to EU regulation: Red tape to go.

This may be easier to promise than deliver given the complexity of the regulatory environment. Promising to scrap red tape always generates a good headline, but what is really needed is to review each regulation and the purpose it serves. This require some expertise.

However, she is targeting the 'three crops' regulation designed to promote biodiversity on larger farms and this has gone down well with the CLA.

Green campaigners have been more critical, but my view is that the three crops regulation is a rather blunt policy instrument which constrains farm level decision-making without contributing much to sustainability.

Minette Batters, deputy president of the National Farmers Union, said she was disappointed Mrs Leadsom was focusing on less important farming issues relating to Brexit rather than farmers' main concerns such as continued access to the single market and a steady supply of foreign labour to pick crops.

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