NFU welcomes bid to get rid of red tape

FARMERS’ views are being sought on what red tape to cut.

Leading the review, businessman Brian Pack is inviting groups and individual farmers to say what regulations cause most headaches, as well as asking rule-setting bodies how the regulations could be delivered more effectively.

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said: “We welcome Brian’s focus on regulations being at a farm level as that presents the greatest opportunity to deliver meaningful change.”

The Scottish Government announced in January it was setting up a working group led by the former chief executive of ANM Group to cut needless bureaucracy.

Mr Pack, who two years ago chaired the inquiry into future support for the agricultural industry and made recommendations accordingly, presented his methodology for the initiative at Scotsheep 2012 earlier this month.

He said: “It is good the work to identify the regulations and regulatory structures that can be adjusted to free up farmers’ and land managers’ time, whilst maintaining desired outcomes, can start in earnest.

“Maximum engagement of all stakeholders, including regulators, will be key to success. I look forward to working with all interested parties to identify the possible improvements.”

Those taking part can give their views online on an e-engagement platform which will contain private and public sections.

Mr Walker sounded a note of caution: “We need farmers to bear in mind that with many of the regulations originating in Brussels, the opportunity to rid ourselves of these is limited. However, we can look at implementation in a more imaginative way so that we satisfy Europe that we are achieving the objectives without asking our farmers to jump through unnecessary hoops.”

Welcoming the consultation, Borders MSP John Lamont said: “The red tape faced by our farmers at the moment is quite frankly ludicrous and it is about time something was done about it. Everyone involved in the agricultural industry in the Borders must let them [the SNP-led Government] know how upset they are with the current levels of regulation and force them to take action.”

Mr Pack’s recommendations are expected by June next year.