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Farm Inspections

Volume 599: debated on Thursday 10 September 2015

I want to see farmers farming, not form-filling. That is why, by June 2016, we will have a single, co-ordinated farm inspection force and a single point of contact for farmers.

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that assurance. At the North Devon Show at Umberleigh in my constituency last month, I met a delegation of farmers. There is still concern about the burdensome nature of some of the inspection regime. Does she agree that a balance needs to be struck between the importance of those inspections and making sure that farmers are not distracted by the time they take up from running their businesses?

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. We are working to make our inspections more efficient and to use technology better, such as satellite imagery and light detection and ranging data, so that we do not have to go traipsing around farms. We are looking at things we can do online. Over the previous Parliament, we cut guidance by 80% and we reduced farm inspections by 34,000 every year, but we want to do more in this Parliament.