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Farming Regulation Task Force Report

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 3 November 2011

I am pleased to announce that the Government published the interim response to the farming regulation taskforce report today.

I established the taskforce in June 2010, asking its members to advise the Government on a new approach to regulation in England, from the point of view of a farmer or food processor, and on how best to achieve a risk-based system of enforcement while maintaining high environmental, welfare and safety standards. Following an extensive review, the taskforce published its report on 17 May 2011.

The taskforce made over 200 recommendations, covering the full range of the regulatory landscape that affects farming. The key messages are that DEFRA, its agencies and delivery partners need to establish an entirely new approach to regulation, strengthen ties with the farming and food processing industry and work in partnership to achieve outcomes, and move to a risk-based approach to regulation, rewarding good practice with less frequent inspection.

The report was bold and ambitious. Government will also be bold and ambitious in finding solutions. I am pleased to announce that the interim response is very positive about our progress to date. It sets out a narrative of the work that is being done, and highlights examples of how the Department and its delivery agents have already started to apply the principles the taskforce set out. We are particularly keen to take forward the principle of earned recognition and to make progress on simplifying and integrating environmental messages for farmers and we are working in partnership with delivery bodies and industry organisations to develop these ideas. I intend to respond positively to as many of the recommendations as possible and will give full details of this, setting out a clear agenda for implementation, in our final response, which is due to be published in the new year.

The interim response is now available on the DEFRA website: www.defra.gov.uk